Proposed food guide and label changes prompt #HandsOffMyPlate campaign

A group of people concerned about the impact of Health Canada’s plan to revise Canada’s Food Guide and introduce new labels on food packaging have launched a campaign to raise awareness of and opposition to the government’s proposed changes.

The campaign, which uses the slogan “Hands Off My Plate,” includes a website, a hashtag (#HandsOffMyPlate, and visuals to accompany the hashtag on social media. Farmers and people involved in agriculture — many of them in the beef and dairy sectors — have been sharing tweets and Facebook posts with the hashtag over the last week.

An example of the graphics the #HandsOffMyPlate campaign has developed for sharing on social media.

The actions coincide with federal consultations on food warning labels intended to communicate if a food is high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat. The comment period ends on Thursday (April 26.) Health Canada is also planning to release a revised version of its food guide in the coming months.

“A few farmers from the area pulled together and said ‘what are the issues that fit for everybody in animal agriculture? And how can we pull together our voice, whether it be through social media or other means, like speaking to politicians?'” explains southwestern Ontario farmer Andrew Campbell, one of the main people behind the campaign and website (and a regular contributor to RealAgriculture.com).

Their main concern is that Health Canada’s food guide and labeling changes will stigmatize and discourage people from eating meat and dairy products.

From February: Health Canada launches consultations on food warning labels

“This is a large group of farmers and people from the medical side of things that are concerned with where both this food guide proposal and the food label proposals are going, and we said ‘we really should tie these conversations together and make sure people are aware of what’s going on,'” he says, noting Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and their provincial association members are not involved in any official capacity.

Campbell joined RealAg Radio on Wednesday, April 25, to discuss the #HandsOffMyPlate campaign, why they’re concerned, and his response to questions about the transparency of the campaign:

Further reading/listening:

 

Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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