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APAS Calls for Change to Better Reflect Origin of Food Labelled "Product of Canada"

by 5m Editor
12 May 2008, at 12:07pm

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is calling for changes to the definition, "Product of Canada" when labelling food to better reflect the origin of the food actually contained in the package, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Under existing federal legislation a food product qualifies as a Product of Canada if 51 percent of the cost of preparing that product for the market place is incurred in Canada.

Last week the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food completed a series of public hearings which examined the labelling of food products in Canada and will now prepare a report and provide recommendations for improvement to the federal government.

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Glen Blakley says we need to be able to inform our consumers that this product is actually grown in Canada under the stringent guidelines that Canadian farmers grow it under to allow consumers to make informed decisions on what they eat.

Clip-Glen Blakley-Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan

I think the Canadian consumer definitely would support the Canadian producer but the challenge they have is they're being misled by the labelling, by the regulations and the guidelines in regards to the labeling and, if it says it's a product of Canada, then the product that's in the container should be grown in Canada and developed in Canada, processed in Canada.

It gets a little bit iffy in some situations where you might have a small amount of spices or something involved in the processing but if the largest percentage, 90-95 percent of the product, was grown in Canada then it should be labelled as such.

But something that's grown outside of Canada should be labelled to make the consumer aware that that's where it's grown also so they can make an informed and educated choice of what food they're actually eating and what they're buying in the supermarkets.

The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food is expected to present its recommendations to the federal government early next month.

5m Editor