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Canada is considering new regulations for alt-meat products

Canada is considering new regulations for alt-meat products there, but consumers don't need a lot of guidance, it seems.

Is it meat, or not? Canadians are clear on the concept.

In fact, 79% said they don’t have any problem determining whether an item they are buying is conventional meat or poultry, or an analogue, according to the results of a broad study conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The question of Canadian consumers’ understanding and comfort level with alt-meats is important: Canadians will spend about US$225 million on meat substitutes this year. Alt-meat companies are just as eager to expand north of the border as they are in the United States: Beyond, Impossible, Meatless Farm, KFC, Subway and Eat Just have a presence there. Canada also sports a healthy and fast-growing community of alt-meat start-ups, including Modern Meat, The Very Good Butchers, and the Eat Beyond investment firm. Of course, Canadian food conglomerate Maple Leaf Foods owns Greenleaf, which manufactures Lightlife- and Field Roast-branded products.

The issue of how to label meat substitutes in the United States has become a frustrating state-by-state game of inches: State legislators pass laws limiting alt-meat labeling options and alt-meat companies, often in tandem with the Good Food Institute, sue, usually over First Amendment considerations. Several cases are crawling through the court systems — but the U.S. federal government is loath to rule on such considerations on the national level.

Canadians, however, tend to prefer a national benchmark, and Canada has proposed a set of guidelines. Still, “As Canada's plant-based food industry grows, consumers and industry have expressed a need for more information and guidance about these products,” CFIA notes in its report. So late last year, CFIA surveyed more than 2,500 consumers, producers, health professionals, processors and others. The results are a boon to the alternative meats industry

A large majority of respondents (79%) indicated that they don't find it challenging to determine whether a food is a meat or poultry product or non-meat or poultry product. Regarding terminology, 66% indicated that plant-based foods should be allowed to use meat terminology. And while the majority of respondents (62%) thought that the guidelines were clear, there are areas where guidance could be more precise.

Interestingly, in comments, representatives of both the plant-based and animal-based sector, as well as many consumers, said that plant-based foods should stand on their own merits and should not be compared to meat and poultry products at all.

CFIA promises to consider the input from the survey to further clarify the guidelines for alt-meat and poultry products that it has proposed. The agency also expects to publish the final guidelines for simulated meat and poultry in the fall of 2021. CFIA promises to have the national health agency, Health Canada, review the proposed regulations, specifically regarding nutritional fortification of alt-meat products and nutritional labeling issues.

Par Lisa M. Keefe (11/07/2021)

Source : (Meating Place)

Photo : Wikimedia Common (tirée de l'article original)

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