The effort to stop food producers from labelling vegetarian-based products as meat in Canada is part of international movement towards achieving a common nomenclature for meat derived from animal-based proteins. The drive for improved clarity and consistency for consumers in labelling alternative protein products started in France and Italy and regions in the United States have since acted to disallow plant-based meat items to be labelled and marketed as ‘meat’ or use terms such as ‘beef.’ Canada has its own regulatory requirements in this area, and they should be respected.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is working with its U.S. counterpart, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), on the need for a consistent approach to, and predictable rules for, the labelling of meat products with international bodies like the International Meat Secretariat, International Beef Alliance and Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The CCA’s view is that for a product to be labelled or marketed as meat it must meet the legal definition of “meat” or “meat by-product” as defined in the Food and Drug Regulation.
The Food and Drug Regulation defines:
· “Meat” as the edible part of a carcass that is the muscle associated with the skeleton, tongue, diaphragm, heart, gizzard or mammalian oesophagus, with or without accompanying and overlying fat, together with those parts of the bones, skin, sinews, nerves, blood vessels and other tissues that normally accompany the muscle and are not ordinarily removed in dressing a carcass, but does not include the muscle associated with the lips, snout, scalp or ears. (B.14.002 [S])
· “Meat by-product” as any edible part of an animal, other than meat, that has been derived from one or more animals that were healthy at the time of slaughter. (B.14.003 [S])
Canada’s rules and regulations governing labels for products include the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR), the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). All health and safety standards under the FDR and the SFCR are enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
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