Cattle Industry Urges Health Canada to Reconsider Front-of-Package Proposed Rule
As previously reported on this blog, Health Canada published proposed Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Food and Drugs Act (Nutrition Symbols, Other Labelling Provisions, Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Vitamin D) in 2018. A key part of Health Canada’s proposed rule is Front-of-Package (FOP) labeling requirements aimed to assist consumers in making healthy eating choices by highlighting foods that contain “high” levels of sodium, saturated fat, or sugars. According to the proposed rule, a prepackaged food product is “high” in sodium, saturated fat, or sugar if the amount of the nutrient meets or exceeds 15% of the daily value per serving.
The proposed rule provides exemptions to the FOP requirement for raw single ingredient meat products and meat by-products, but it specifically notes that this exception does not apply to ground meat. Health Canada justifies the exemptions on the basis of technical, nutritional, or practical reasons, and the agency notes that the exemptions align with those for Health Canada’s Nutrition Facts table rules.
On June 3, 2022 the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, and National Cattle Feeders’ Association issued a position statement asserting that Health Canada should exempt ground beef and ground pork from the proposed FOP labeling rules. The statement asserts that since ground meats are nutritiously similar to exempt foods and relatively less processed than non-exempt foods, withholding the exemption from ground meats “contradicts the foundational principles of healthy eating” that the proposed rule seeks to effectuate.