Although ground meat, such as beef or pork, is a single-ingredient food product, proposed regulation changes by Health Canada could require front-of-package labelling warning of the food’s saturated fat content.
Single-ingredient foods, such as eggs, vegetables, and fruit, are usually exempt from some labelling requirements, under Health Canada.
Other countries that have implemented front-of-package regulations have chosen to exempt all single ingredient whole foods, based on their nutritious value, including ground beef.
The beef and pork sectors say the front-of-package requirement will do more harm than good, as the warning could serve as a deterrent to purchasing the nutrient-dense food, plus it could send the wrong message to export customers, as well.
Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), says that the regulation at issue is nearing the approval stage in the Canadian regulatory system. He says ground beef should be exempt from the label requirement.
Laycraft says that the move by Health Canada serves to single-out the product in a negative light, which goes against the push to more whole, unprocessed foods.
CCA has shared new evidence with Health Canada which suggests that reductions in ground beef and ground pork consumption will make a nominal impact on Canadians’ overall intake of saturated fat. At the same time, deterring vulnerable populations (including women and children) from purchasing beef and pork increases the risk of increasingly inadequate iron intakes.