Health Canada is introducing the front-of-pack (FOP) label, which is intended to warn consumers specifically about the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat in the foods they buy.
While it’s commendable to encourage Canadians to buy healthy foods, the FOP label will single out foods for one nutrient without considering overall nutritional content. It also misinforms consumers about the complexity of food nutrients.
For example, ground beef will have a FOP label for 15 percent of the daily value of saturated fat, yet it contains 23 grams of protein and 14 essential nutrients. Moreover, half of the fat in beef is unsaturated, and fresh red meat accounts for only seven percent of fat calories in the average Canadian diet. In contrast, processed items like diet soda won’t have an FOP label.
Canadians should be encouraged to consume a variety of fresh, wholesome, nutritionally-rich foods. Beef is part of this healthy food choice. The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) is concerned that the FOP label could lead consumers to think that ground beef is unhealthy based on a single nutrient. Consumers could be swayed to choose highly-refined, low nutritional foods simply because they don’t contain an FOP label.
The SSGA is asking Health Canada to exempt ground beef from requiring the FOP label. We have begun a petition going to Health Canada that consumers can sign on the SSGA’s website. They can also access a link to take the Health Canada survey that concludes April 26.