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Title: Product of Canada or not
I watched the CBC Marketplace epsiode “Product of Canada, Eh?”. In the episode, Wendy Mesley tracked down the origin of food products with the “Product of Canada” label. But, just because the label says product of Canada,this is not necessarily so.
Under current federal regulations, goods can be stamped with a “Product of Canada” label if 51 per cent of the production costs are Canadian. For example, companies can label their juice Canadian by adding water to imported fruit concentrate and bottling the product.
I would like to know where my food comes from, not where the most money was spent on processing the food. With increased concerns about global warming and attempting to buy food that is not covered in diesel, it is vital that people know where their food comes form. Admittedly, I have not tried the 100 mile diet challenge; I still buy rice, bananas and the odd mango, but I like to know if my food comes from countries that do not respect their citizens(Indonesia), their local environment or have ongoing health concerns(China).
Whatever the reason, the origin of one’s food should not be a mystery. I feel the same way about knowing if I am eating genetically modified foods, but I am left in ignorance on both counts by the deliberate deception by manufacturers and collusion by the Canadian government.
After watching the show, my trust in the label “Product of Canada” has been seriously eroded. I am not sure the food that I am eating supports local farmers or ever Canadian farmers, or if the process of growing or harvesting the food meets minimum health standards of Canada. This is not such a trivial concern as the recent melamine, pet food scandal revealed. The gluten that was contaminated was human grade, so it would not have been such a big leap to have entered the human food chain. But, what I dislike the most, is that the food that I thought was Canadian is not really.
I do not think that we will be seeing any solutions from governments or manufacturers. There is too much vested intrests in promoting the illusion of the Canadian origins of food. The only solution is to support local food networks and local producers.
We recently bought a carton of free range eggs from Sunworks Farm. I had a chance to talk to the producer and see pictures of his operation. The eggs were more yellow, tasted more yolky, and had thicker whites when cooked(compared to PC free run eggs).
The description on the President’s Choice Free Run Eggs states:
“These Canada Grade A eggs are exclusively for free run hens. These hens live in an open concept, weather-sheltered barn environment, where they are free to roam, feed, roost, nest and perch.”
So this means that they live in a barn and are free to move around – but, how free is free ? With Sunworks farm, the poultry are pasture fed but in the winter they are housed in a barn. I at least saw some pictures of how the animals were raised and know exactly what I am purchasing. With Superstore (a Loblaws subsidiary) I am not so sure.
Governments and manufactures have proven that truth in advertising is not a concern. There is no freedom to learn what is in your food, who makes your food and how it is made. If any of this is a concern, buying from the producers is the best way to gain control of your food, support the local food web, and reduce your carbon footprint.