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June 13, 2022

Alberta’s beef industry calls for labelling exemption on ground beef

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Associations (ACFA) are urgently requesting that Health Canada exempt ground beef from the proposed front-of-package (FOP) regulations. With record high food inflation, now is not the time to vilify a readily available and affordable, nutrient-dense source of protein.

Health Canada’s proposed FOP regulations would require ground beef, a single ingredient whole food, sold at retail to carry a “high in” saturated fat warning label. Unlike other single ingredient foods, such as meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, and fruit.

“Alberta farmers and ranchers are struggling right now, and the federal government should be championing our industry in the middle of a global food shortage, not working against it,” says Dr. Melanie Wowk, ABP Chair. “Between the rising cost of electricity, fuel, natural gas, and fertilizer, and a severe drought that has added water scarcity and increased costs in animal feed, many producers have been forced to downsize their herds and sell their cattle.”

“As a beef producer, I am confused and concerned as to why ground beef would need to carry a damaging and unnecessary front of package warning label. I take extreme pride in the beef I produce,” says Keith Gregory, ACFA Vice Chair. “The proposed labelling of a whole, single-ingredient food, such as ground beef, contradicts the foundational principles of healthy eating, as beef is an affordable protein that contributes vital nutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin B12 in ways people can easily use.”  

Canada will be the only jurisdiction in the world placing a health warning label on its ground beef.

Approximately 50 percent of Canada’s beef is destined for export markets. There’s concern over the potential for unnecessary trade implications that may result from this decision, and negatively impact our already volatile international markets. Alberta’s beef industry, including export markets, is a main economic driver, employing over 55,000 full-time workers and contributing over $4 billion to the provincial GDP.

Beef producers should not be expected to carry the burden of another market barrier.

ABP and ACFA are joining beef producers across the country to ask for support by sending a message to Health Canada. Go to dontlabelmybeef.ca to sign up and show support Canadian beef producers.

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