The last meeting the Food Policy Committee conducted was held virtually on August 4, 2020 during the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) Semi-Annual Meeting. Since then, we had to say goodbye to our lead staff member of the Food Policy Committee, Jennifer Babcock, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors. However, we now have a new staff member leading the Food Policy Committee, and I have had the privilege of having a brief chat with the new staff member, Lauren Martin, and we are in very capable hands. One of the major issues currently in front of the Food Policy Committee that Lauren has briefed us on is the Government Consultation of the Simulated Meat and Simulated Poultry labeling guidance document put out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). To learn more about the consultation and participate through the online survey, click here.
The labeling of alternative proteins has also been a concern of the Food Policy Committee because it may have the opportunity to mislead consumers in-store. Thus, CCA staff reviews the trademark office to see if any plant protein product trademarks would have misleading names/descriptions that could be confused as a traditional beef product. A report is generated for each Food Policy Committee meeting and is reviewed by both CCA staff and the Food Policy Committee members to see if any further action is required on any trademarks. As of right now, there have been no trademarks that are a cause for concern.
Besides the guidance document consultation, another main issue that the Food Policy Committee has commented on is the front of pack labeling for ground beef. The front of pack labeling has been a concern since it may impact ground beef sales because Health Canada wants to put warning labels on ground beef containing high amounts of saturated fats. The Committee feels that it is vital to keep lobbying to ensure that ground beef is exempt from this regulation. It is a whole food that is not processed and has a positive nutritional benefit. Currently, this regulation has been pushed back on implementation due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lastly, Health Canada wants to move the food waste file forward. The Committee felt that this would be a space that CCA could be a leader in by showcasing current work done to reduce food waste. The federal government recently announced a waste reduction challenge which presents an opportunity for CCA members. Details here. CCA is also working on a climate change paper that could have a section on food waste being used in the beef sector and the benefits that come along with using it. The Committee agreed that CCA staff should continue with Health Canada and the industry to ensure that CCA and Health Canada are on similar pages.
Overall, this committee is still fairly new compared to the other committees. However, there was a consensus that this will be an important committee moving forward.
Young Cattlemen's Council