Ground beef sold in Canada could soon have a health warning label

Jun 13 2022, 6:01 pm

Ground beef, one of Canada’s favourite and most affordable protein options, might soon be plastered with a warning label at the grocery store.

Health Canada could soon stick a mandatory front-of-package warning label on ground beef (and possibly pork) on grounds of containing unhealthily high amounts of sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and more.

If this is implemented, Canada would become the only country in the world with a ground beef health warning label.

Back in October of 2016, Health Canada launched the Healthy Eating Strategy and the proposed labels are part of it. According to the federal food regulation agency, the Health Eating Strategy is “a suite of initiatives that aim to improve the food environment and help make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians.”

“The intent is not to convey a warning, rather it aims to help reduce risks to health by providing consumers with quick and easy-to-use information on foods high in sodium, sugars and/or saturated fat,” said Health Canada in a statement emailed to Daily Hive.

“These labels are widely recognized by health organizations as an effective tool to help counteract rising rates of diet-related chronic disease in Canada.”

The proposal has left Canada’s cattle farmers and ranchers concerned and angry.

“What’s the beef with my beef?” tweeted Canadian Cattlemen’s Association in response to the proposal. “Health Canada wants to put a warning label on ground beef, a nutrient-dense protein Canadian families rely on to stay healthy.”

The association further invited Canadians to join its campaign against Health Canada’s use of such labels.

“Another day, another example of government gatekeepers needlessly throwing roadblocks in front of those who raise, produce and grow the nutritious food we eat,” tweeted Pierre Poilievre, former MP for the Conservative Party, yesterday. “Fire the gatekeepers, and support our ranchers that provide a key part of a healthy diet.”

Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture John Barlow also shared a formal statement on the stance of his party against the Liberal-spearheaded proposal.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, pointed out why he believes the label could be hypocritical.

“Processed foods like Snack Pack pudding, Chips Ahoy! cookies, and Bear Paws will not require any front-of-package labels, but ground beef and pork will,” he complained.

In a senate meeting on June 2, Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau said she’ll be advocating for Canadian farmers and work with the Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos.

Let’s see if they meat in the middle.

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