Made or produced in Canada? — The government is looking for feedback

This week the federal government opened a consultation for the proposed changes to guidelines around “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” labeling. As of right now, it’s voluntary to add the two labels; however, they must meet strict guidelines.

Currently, to use the label “Product of Canada,” all or virtually all (greater than 98 per cent) of its primary ingredients, processing, and the labour used to make it must be Canadian.

For a product to be labeled “Made in Canada,” the last substantial transformation of the product must have occurred in Canada (even if some ingredients are from other countries).

“Consumers want to know when their food has a significant amount of Canadian ingredients so that they make informed decisions and support domestic food producers,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “This initiative is an important part of our Food Policy for Canada, and the Buy Canadian Promotion campaign, which will promote the great foods produced by our world-class farmers across the country, and build pride and confidence in our food system.”

An example of the proposed changes according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would be:

Under the current guidelines, a jar of pickles made from Canadian-grown cucumbers, pickled and jarred in Canada, and using Canadian labour, cannot claim to be a product of Canada because they are using vinegar that was imported.

In this scenario, a consumer cannot easily identify the pickles as being grown or produced in Canada.

CFIA’s goal by the end of the consultation is to change the current guidelines to help consumers make better-informed choices when shopping for food. The online survey will be available until midnight of June 23.

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