Canada's June Food Labelling Regulations - Some Recommendations

by 5m Editor
9 May 2008, at 9:53am

CANADA - The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food expects to present its recomendations early next month for improvements to Canada's food labelling regulations, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Under Canada's existing food labelling regulations a product may be labelled "Product of Canada" if a minimum of 51 percent of the cost of taking it to retail is incurred in Canada.

Yesterday the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food completed an exhastive series of public hearings to identify concerns and explore options.

Committe chair James Bezan says, in many cases, food products processed and packaged in Canada qualify as Product of Canada eventhough the entire contents of the package may have come from offshore creating the impression among consumers that they are being missled and among farmers that they are facing unfair compeition.

James Bezan-Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

We don't want to penalise manufacturers who are bringing in offshore product or U.S. product and making it into a Canadian good.

They're creating jobs, they're functioning within the regulatory framework that we have here in Canada which provides a very safe food product, the safest in the world in my opinion, so we don't want to penalise them from not being able to use the name Canada but perhaps it should be called "Made in Canada" and there is guidlines right now for Made in Canada.

We want to make sure that if they are say producing a pizza, making frozen pizzas, and they're using Canadian bacon and Canadian cheeze and Canadian wheat and the doe but then the pineapple or the olives are coming from offshore, if it's got enough Canadian content in there and it's manufactured here then it should be Product of Canada.

So we have a lot of things that we have to think about as we move forward with this issue.

We're hoping to have a report finalized and presented in the house in June and hopefully provide some good direction to the government.

Bezan says the study has generated a great deal of inteerst and he is confident at the end of the day we'll see changes that will enhance the competetive position of producers and provide better information to consumers.

5m Editor