Health Canada is currently in the final stages of revising Canada’s Food Guide to reflect new scientific evidence and dietary needs of Canadians, but dairy farmers are concerned about the “detrimental” effect of potentially eliminating the Milk and Alternatives group.
In a release on Friday, Dairy Farmers of Canada warned about the removal of the group and the choice of the guide to “actively advocating that Canadians shift towards consuming more plant-based sources of protein.”
This statement comes after an indication that the updated document “would de-emphasize the scientifically proven nutritional value and health benefits of dairy products” by prioritizing plant-based sources of protein.
The group cites effects of this could be detrimental to the long-term health of future generations “by leading them to erroneously think that dairy products are unhealthy” and that it will negatively impact the sector, one that they say has already been greatly changed by the “concessions granted in recent trade agreements” by the federal government.
“This would cause further harm to the dairy sector by deliberately diminishing the nutritional value of dairy in the eyes of Canadians – in spite of scientific evidence,” said DFC president, Pierre Lampron.
“Not only will this harm the dairy sector and the hundreds of thousands who depend upon it for their livelihoods, it also risks harming Canadian consumers by creating confusion about the nutritional value of dairy.”
The release continued to state that “the direction proposed by the new Food Guide is not evidence-based” and that it could have further long-lasting consequences on the sector.
“There is no scientific justification to minimize the role of milk products in a healthy diet as they are a key source of 6 of the 8 nutrients that most Canadians already fall short of,” said Isabelle Neiderer, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC’s) Director of Nutrition and Research, and a registered dietitian. “The current scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that the daily consumption of 2 to 4 servings of milk products has a beneficial role to play in promoting bone health and preventing several chronic diseases that Health Canada wants to address with the new Food Guide such as hypertension, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and stroke.”
In the statement, Dairy Farmers of Canada asked that Prime Minister Trudeau direct the Minister of Health “do her homework by considering and taking into account all available scientific evidence prior to the release of the new Food Guide.”
Health Canada is currently in the final stages of revising the guide to reflect new evidence and meet the needs of “various audiences who use the healthy eating recommendations.”
The revision of the guide will be completed in two phases, first, a “new dietary guidance policy report for health professionals and policy makers” in early 2019.
Later in 2019, the second phase, which will be a new dietary guidance policy report (healthy eating patterns and recommended amounts and types of foods) will be released.
We’ll keep you posted on the updates in the guide once it is released.