The Food Policy Committee held a meeting on March 11, 2020 during the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) AGM in Ottawa and is the newest committee underneath the CCA board. The committee is currently working on setting the direction of the committee and finding issues that it can act on.
The CCA staff member that oversees the Food Policy Committee is Jennifer Babcock.
The main issues the Food Policy committee has commented on is the front-of-pack labelling for ground beef, infringement on the branding of plant-based protein compared to beef and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations on alternative proteins labelling.
The front-of-pack labelling raises concern that ground beef sales may be impacted, as Health Canada is wanting to put warning labels on ground beef that it contains high amounts of saturated fats. The committee feels it is vital the CCA keep lobbying to ensure that ground beef is exempt from this regulation due to it being a whole food that is not processed and has a positive nutritional benefit. However, implementation of this regulation has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The labelling of alternative proteins has also been a concern of the Food Policy Committee, specifically, that labelling may mislead consumers. Thus, CCA staff is reviewing the trademark office to see if any trademarks of alternative protein products would have misleading names/descriptions that could be confused as a beef product. A report is generated monthly and is reviewed by CCA staff and the Food Policy Committee to see if any further action is required on any trademarks. As of right now, there have been a few trademark applications we are monitoring.
A side note to the previous point is the continual work done to monitor the CFIA definition of beef to ensure that it remains the same and simulated meat products are held to the same high standards of CFIA regulations.
Lastly, Health Canada is wanting to move the food waste file forward. The committee felt this is an area the CCA could be a leader in by showcasing current work being done in the industry to reduce food waste. CCA is working on a climate change paper that could have a section on food waste being used in the beef sector and the benefits associated with its use. The Committee agreed CCA staff should continue conversations with Health Canada and the industry to ensure the 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 this will be an important committee moving forward.
Young Cattlemen's Council