Health Canada Flip Flops: Warning Labels No Longer Required on Ground Meat

Health Canada is backpedaling on a progressive decision that would have required a health warning label on ground beef and pork products.

Health Canada announced a new policy to add front-of-package labels to unhealthy foods that exceed 15 percent of the maximum daily allowance of saturated fat, sugar, or sodium.

When the initial announcement was made, Health Canada had chosen to exempt butter, milk, eggs, and some single-ingredient meat products, despite their high fat content. But ground pork and beef would have had to be labelled.

The beef and pork industries were outraged that they didn’t get special treatment, and began pushing back against the rules. They expressed panic and concern in op-eds and press interviews. The Cattlemen’s Association even launched its “Don’t Label My Beef” campaign, urging members of the public to contact their MP and other federal politicians to ask them to exempt ground beef from the labelling policy.

Unfortunately, Health Canada succumbed to the lobbyist pressure, and backed down from its proposal to require warning labels on the unhealthy ground meat products.

Animal Agriculture Industry Is Used to Getting Special Treatment

Governments are eager to please the power animal agriculture industry, and help these rich industries make even more money. Standard farming practices are exempt from most provincial animal cruelty laws, which allows for mass suffering in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are locked up in filthy warehouses. The meat, dairy, and egg industries get millions of dollars in public subsidies every year, and now governments are even passing dangerous “ag gag” laws to prevent whistleblowers from uncovering and exposing animal abuse in farms and slaughterhouses.

Pigs in factory farm. Photo: Konrad Lozinski.

But cruel and unhealthy animal products have been getting some much-deserved flack recently.

This week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it was cracking down on Manitoba Pork for misleading radio ads claiming that pork is an “healthy and affordable protein” after a member of the Animal Justice Academy filed a complaint

The newest edition of the Canada Food Guide also removes the “meat and alternatives” and “dairy and alternatives” categories seen in previous versions. It encourages Canadians to move away from excess dairy and meat consumption, and consume more plant-based proteins.

For the health of Canadians and the protection of animals, governments should end subsidies to the harmful animal agriculture industry, make plant-based foods more affordable, and pass stronger laws for farmed animals to protect cows, pigs, and chickens from the unimaginable cruelty they endure in farms.