ANNOUNCEMENT 27 May 2019

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency launched a public consultation seeking comments on proposed guidelines for "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" food labelling claims that could eliminate a disincentive to the incorporation of some imported ingredients in processed foods.

 

NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS

1

  • 0 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 1 liberalising
Inception date: No inception date

Local sourcing

On May 27, 2019 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) launched a public consultation (to be closed on June 23, 2019) seeking comments on the proposed guidelines for "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" food labelling claims. The net result of this consultation could be the elimination of a disincentive to the incorporation of some imported ingredients in processed foods.

According to CFIA, consumers have told the government that they want to be able to better identify Canadian foods. The government reviewed the existing guidelines and consulted with the food industry on proposed changes so as to make the guidelines better reflect market realities and help the food industry produce and market Canadian products. CFIA believes that under the current guidelines Canadian food processors are not able to use these claims on their food products if the ingredients they need are not always available or cannot be grown in Canada. Produce (such as fruits and vegetables) is not available year-round in Canada and some ingredients (such as cane sugar and certain spices) cannot be grown in Canada. This can affect labelling claims for products produced by Canadian companies. The agency provided the following example:

Under the current guidelines, a jar of pickles made from Canadian-grown cucumbers, pickled and jarred in Canada, and using Canadian labour, cannot claim to be a product of Canada because they are using vinegar that was imported.

Under the current definition of “Product of Canada,” all or virtually all the ingredients must be Canadian (generally considered to be 98%). This is not the case with the jar of pickles because vinegar will often take up x% of the ingredients.

In this scenario, a consumer cannot easily identify the pickles as being grown or produced in Canada.

The proposal would lower the threshold for claims of “Product of Canada” from “all or virtually all” to 85%. It would also alter existing rules under which claims of “Made in Canada” must also include a qualifying statement to indicate that the food product is made from imported ingredients or a combination of imported and domestic ingredients. Under the proposal, such language would not be necessary. For example, orange juice made in Canada from imported oranges could simply say “Made in Canada.” Producers would still be allowed to make an optional statement to highlight the origin of specific ingredients. For example, a baked product might say “Made in Canada with 100% Canadian wheat.”

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