In this file:


·         Proposed changes to Canada's food guide sow concern among Alberta beef producers

… Alberta’s beef producers seeing red…  


·         Meat, dairy sectors got beef with proposed changes to Canada’s food guide

… The preliminary recommendations also encourage eating less red meat…  


·         U.S. audit raised 'significant questions' about Canadian meat inspections

CFIA says Canada and U.S. systems differ, but both work to ensure meat is free of contamination



Proposed changes to Canada's food guide sow concern among Alberta beef producers


Bryan Passifiume, Calgary Herald (Canada)

August 9, 2017


Proposed changes to the federal government’s recommendations for a healthy diet has Alberta’s beef producers seeing red.


In its first revamp in a decade, the Canada Food Guide is expected to recommend a drastic reduction of dairy, butter and beef consumption as part of what it recommends as a balanced and nutritional diet.


Health Canada is also considering replacing the guide’s Meats and Alternates category with one encompassing all sources of protein — both animal and plant based.


That’s a concern to Canada Beef spokeswoman Joyce Parslow, who’s concerned these changes negate the importance of a balanced diet.


“We’re concerned that’s not really very helpful for consumers — they buy foods, they don’t buy nutrients,” she said.


“To lump meat, dairy products and plant-based sources of protein all in one, saying they’re rich sources of protein — it’s not even true.”


Concerns are being raised after Health Canada released a series of ‘guiding principles’ earlier in the summer, purportedly advocating a shift from red meat consumption in favour of plant-based protein and foods high in fibre.


The current food guide suggests that Canadians should eat one to three servings of meat and alternatives.


Unlike previous food guide revisions, industry won’t have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with Health Canada.


Instead, they have until Monday to submit comments on the guiding principles — the same deadline being offered to the general public.


Food marketing boards such as Canada Beef, Parslow said, aren’t permitted to make the claim their foods are “rich” in any specific nutrient unless certain thresholds are met in terms of daily value percentages.


“And here they are, trying to say that things like peanut butter are equal levels of protein, and the same levels of protein,” she said.


“It’s kind of counter to what they allow as claims, which is a bit strange.”


The guiding principles also advocate replacing dairy foods high in saturated fats, such as cream, high-fat cheese and butter, with those containing unsaturated fat, such as nuts, seeds and avocado.


Parslow said the changes represent misinformation to consumers regarding levels and quality of protein — especially when one considers the amount of nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12 available in beef.


That’s a position shared by Alberta Beef Producers spokesman Tom Lynch-Staunton, who said dismissing the role beef plays in a balanced diet will negatively affect the province’s cattle producers — and the health of Albertans.


“It could have serious detrimental effects,” said Lynch-Staunton, who also serves as Issues Manager for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.


As the Canada Food Guide is taught in schools as nutritional curriculum, he’s especially concerned about the long-term effects.


“One of the problems is that children are especially vulnerable to not getting the right nutrients — especially protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12,” Lynch-Staunton said...





Meat, dairy sectors got beef with proposed changes to Canada’s food guide


By Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press 

via GlobalNews (Canada) - August 10, 2017


VANCOUVER – Lobby groups for the meat and dairy sectors are up in arms over indications that Canada’s next food guide could discourage the consumption of beef, butter and cheese.


The guide, expected to be released early next year after its first overhaul in a decade, has been instrumental in teaching generations the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet. And while it may not be Health Canada’s intention, it can also serve as a key marketing tool for certain food industries.


Earlier this year, Health Canada published guiding principles and recommendations, one of which promotes eating more protein-rich foods derived from plants.


Isabelle Neiderer, director of nutrition and research with Dairy Farmers of Canada, said she takes that as a sign that the new food guide could lump all protein, including dairy products, into one food group. The current food guide recommends two to four daily servings of milk and alternative products, depending on age and gender.


The elimination of the milk and alternative products category from the food guide would send a message that all proteins are the same and not take into account that milk products contain nutrients vital to human health, such as calcium and potassium, that other protein-rich foods don’t.


“It would be a disservice to the Canadian population and frankly, a recipe for disaster in terms of bone health,” Neiderer said.


Since its introduction in 1942, Canada’s food guide has specifically recommended milk or milk products as part of a healthy diet. For dairy farmers, any walk away from that could threaten an industry that employs more than 220,000 people.


The preliminary recommendations also encourage eating less red meat, instead pointing Canadians to leaner animal cuts and plant-based proteins. The current food guide’s suggests that Canadians should eat one to three servings of meat and alternatives.


The Canadian Meat Council says the proposed recommendations are so general that they aren’t helpful for consumers in choosing what foods to eat, in what quantities and how often.


Jackie Crichton, the council’s director of regulatory affairs, says not everyone needs to eat less meat...


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U.S. audit raised 'significant questions' about Canadian meat inspections

CFIA says Canada and U.S. systems differ, but both work to ensure meat is free of contamination


By Philip Ling, CBC News (Canada)

Aug 09, 2017


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found "systemic" inspection and sanitation problems during its most recent audit of Canada's meat, poultry and egg inspection systems, issues American officials say "raise significant questions about the Canadian system."


The most "significant" concern, U.S. auditors said, was that Canadian government plant inspectors were not checking for residual feces and digestive waste materials on each carcass in slaughterhouses prior to export.


"Auditors noted that government inspectors appear to not be conducting carcass-by-carcass post-mortem inspection to ensure freedom from contamination," noted the audit. Conducted in 2016, it was released this spring but garnered little attention.


"This could be a significant finding for the [U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service] and could be inconsistent with [U.S.] requirements."


"Post-mortem inspection procedures that do not ensure carcass-by-carcass inspection . . . raise significant questions about the Canadian system," American officials wrote in the audit.


The audits were conducted in September 2016 in slaughterhouses in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and shared with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in April.


U.S. requirements on imported meat


The United States requires carcasses to be inspected by a government inspector to confirm they aren't contaminated before they are stamped "inspected and passed." The rule applies both to meat from the U.S. and carcasses imported into the country.


The U.S. government could temporarily ban Canadian plants from exporting their products to the United States if the requirements aren't met.


The CFIA declined CBC News' request for interview, but issued a statement insisting Canada's food system is safe.


"Both Canada and the U.S. have rules that prohibit the production of meat from carcasses that are contaminated," said CFIA spokeswoman Maria Kubacki. "Both countries have high standards for food safety. Canada and the U.S. have different approaches to verify that carcasses are free of contamination, and neither Canada nor the U.S. tolerates contamination on food animal carcasses."


But the American audit pointed out about 60,000 kilograms of Canadian meat and poultry products were rejected by the United States for "various public health reasons" between 2013 and 2015.


Meat contaminated by manure, ingesta (food from the animal's digestive system) or other bodily fluids such as milk is the primary way for pathogens, such as E. coli, to spread.


An E. coli outbreak at an XL Foods plant in southern Alberta in 2012 was detected by U.S. inspectors and led to the largest meat recall in Canadian history. Eighteen people in Canada got sick from eating the beef. (XL Foods was sold in 2013 to JBS South America of Brazil.)


The CFIA statement added that discussions with its U.S. counterparts to address the U.S. concerns are "ongoing."


"Our goal is to achieve a common understanding about how two inspection systems meet the same food safety outcome," Kubacki said.


Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union representing food inspectors in Canada, said he is "not surprised at all" by the American audit results, pointing to a need to hire more front-line inspectors.


Union says resources stretched ...