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Farmers welcome new “Product of Canada” label guidelines

The federal government has established new "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" label guidelines. The CFA and its member organizations have been calling for changes for years and these new guidelines reflect the CFA's "Grown in Canada" proposal.


May 22, 2008
By Canadian Federation of Agriculture

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May 21, 2008

Ottawa, Ont. — The Canadian Federation of
Agriculture applauds the federal government for its new “Product of Canada” and
“Made in
Canada” label guidelines. The CFA and its
member organizations have for several years been calling for updates to
labeling rules. The new guidelines are very much in keeping with farmers’
requests under the CFA’s “Grown in
Canada” proposal. 

“Clearly,
the federal government has listened to farmers and consumers,” said CFA
President Bob Friesen. “We are pleased to see that Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz are taking action to
provide consumers with more accurate information about where their food comes
from.”

“Canadian
farmers proudly produce food of the highest quality. Our members see this as an
opportunity to strengthen the brand of Canadian-grown food,” said Friesen. “We
welcome the opportunity to help the government develop and implement an
effective promotional campaign to accompany the new guidelines.” 

As shown by
results of a CFA-commissioned study by MeyersNorrisPenny released in June 2007,
it is clear that Canadians have high regard for domestically produced food.

Between 90% and 95% of those surveyed said they would like to buy Canadian
products, and would always buy Canadian products if they were competitively
priced. Fifty percent said that they would be willing to pay a premium for
Canadian products, and in fact 73% of that 50% said they would be willing to
pay a higher premium if part of that premium would accrue back to the farm
gate.

With such
high levels of consumer and industry support for the guidelines in principle,
the CFA looks forward to the upcoming consultations to discuss details of the
new guidelines. For example, farmers want to know how exactly the government
will define the content specification of “all or virtually all.” They will also
want to know how long a plant or animal has to be in
Canada for it to be considered Canadian.  

Today’s
announcement is a fine example of the progress that can be achieved by farm
groups communicating with governments on policy recommendations. With the
Growing Forward consultations scheduled for next week, the CFA anticipates
productive discussions on food labeling and a range of other issues facing
agricultural today.