The recent collaboration between organizations, producers, and consumers to stop the intended front of package (FOP) labelling of ground meat proved just how effective organized lobbying can be.
Reg Schellenberg, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), says it has been smiles across the board after the federal government announced that ground meat, including beef, would be exempt from FOP labelling proposed by Health Canada.
“We’re very pleased with the way the campaign went on, when the FOP or front of label packaging was first announced, we knew that we had to rally the industry and really push hard against this policy,” says Schellenberg. “We had a very successful campaign and we’re just really ecstatic that the health of Canada and the government listened to industry and producer concerns, as well as concerns from our consumers.”
From the time the proposed FOP inclusions was made, to the time of the announcement of the official guidelines and regulations was a small window and Schellenberg says they knew they had to act quickly, and were cautiously optimistic given the window of opportunity.
“We knew that the fact that they have said it was gonna go through was a big concern for the industry. So we knew we had to be very proactive, and lobby as hard as we could in a narrow window of time. Because when they would break for the summer, then things go silent. And that was our concern,” says Schellenberg.
Luckily for them and producers, and ultimately consumers as well, Health Canada did omit ground meat from the FOP guidelines.
With this win now in the rearview mirror, Schellenberg says they are focused on maintaining this forward momentum.
“The CCA is focusing on the transfer of care documents that are being proposed to be required for movement of all cattle auction marts and sale yards and assembly yards. We’ve partnered with the Livestock Marketing Association of Canada to also lobby their concerns of the requirements of this transfer of care document. And so it’s a joint effort, and we will definitely continue that push as well, on behalf of all producers across Canada and the livestock markets.”
With Schellenberg in his first few months of president for the CCA, he says things are off to a great start and is thankful for all the support behind him.