Canada pushing for health warnings on mince

Eric Barker, 16/06/2022

CANADA’S health authority has created a beef with its cattle industry over proposed new labels to put a health warning on mince.

The new labelling requirements put forward by Health Canada are an attempt to limit sodium, sugars, saturated fats and trans fats in diets – ultimately aiming to reduce obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Mince will need a saturated fat warning.

In terms of volume, ground beef takes up a big share of the market – with more than 40pc of carcasses in Australia going to mince and more than 50pc in North America.

While ground beef is in the health authorities’ sights, Health Canada has given “single ingredient” meats an exemption from the labelling requirements. Dairy products have also been exempt.

“These products are considered less standardised than ground meats, which make deriving accurate nutrient values challenging,” the paper said.

“The full exemptions have been expanded to include foods for which there is scientific evidence for a protective effect on health. These are foods which Health Canada does not want to discourage consumption.”

The proposal has caused a stir with Canada’s peak cattle representative body the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, which has started a petition and campaign called “Don’t label my beef”.

Its website said mince was an affordable and healthy staple, which was made more important by the current economic challenges.

“This could lead consumers to believe that ground beef is unhealthy when in fact, it’s a nutrient-rich, wholesome source of protein that Canadians rely on,” the webpage said.

“Ground beef is a foundational food for Canadian families and a staple in households from coast to coast to coast. It’s one of the most affordable, convenient, and accessible sources of proteins available to Canadians.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure Canadians continue to have access to affordable, accessible, and whole, nutritious foods, like ground beef. With inflation costs and food prices rising, we can’t afford Health Canada’s proposed warning label on ground beef. It risks affordability and has far-reaching negative economic and nutritional impacts on Canadians, especially the most vulnerable.”

  • To read more on the proposal click here and for more information on the “Don’t label my beef” campaign click here.













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