Practices and Malpractice in Canadian Food Labelling

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Canada’s food labelling practices are very much a work-in-progress. Labelling itself is a very important issue as it affects both product sales for companies and personal health for consumers, especially since most Canadian consumers learn about nutrition from food labels themselves (Nguyen) and are especially inclined to trust labels (Gruère, Carter and Farzin). Through labelling law, government is also able to impose food standards on products. An extensive set of rules to govern every possible category of food product is used and adhered to in the food inspection process. Food labelling itself is mainly tied to issues of health and safety and consumer rights, but has also recently been involved in trade relations (which will not be…show more content…
New guidelines have eliminated this practice. However, companies choose to label products ‘Made in Canada from Domestic and Imported Ingredients’ instead of labelling all the country origins of their ingredients. An example is in the meat industry. Foreign animals imported into Canada but slaughtered and/or processed here still qualify for ‘Made in Canada’ labels, in fact, only pre-processed and packaged imported meat requires a country of origin label (Weeks).
This is admittedly the most practical option for processed food products comprising many ingredients, but can also be taken as an attempt to hide the true origin of ingredients from the consumer to prevent any bias in selection. Companies stand to lose sales if they reveal all the sources of their ingredients for several reasons. Consumers may have patriotic sympathies and prefer domestic goods. They may also have a bias towards certain countries, perhaps for political or environmental reasons (e.g. whether the food was produced sustainably) (Boyd), and may even doubt the quality of ingredients coming from lesser-developed countries.

There is additional confusion (for consumers) in the difference between ‘Made in Canada’ and ‘Product of Canada’ labels. Consumers tend to equate the two, but they are in fact very different. Products that

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