The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) launched consultations last week on proposed updates to guidelines for industry on simulated meat, simulated poultry products and certain plant-based protein foods, and is encouraging industry and consumers to submit their views by December 3, 2020.
"The growth in Canada's plant-based foods industry indicates the need for clearer guidelines to better support industry in their understanding and application of regulatory requirements. We're working to bring that clarity which includes a better understanding of consumers' views and needs to allow them to make more informed food choices," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
The CFIA's current guidelines for simulated meat and simulated poultry products apply to products that are made to resemble meat or poultry products. An example of such products is plant-based burgers that are made to look like a beef burger by using ingredients that simulate the red colour or fat marbling effect of animal-sourced meat. The agency also recognizes there is a need to update the guidelines to include food products that are plant-based proteins that are not intended to resemble or substitute a meat or poultry product. Examples include properly identified tofu burgers, lentil loaves or soy patties.
The proposed updates to the guidelines seek to clarify what constitutes simulated meat or poultry products in accordance with the Food and Drug Regulations and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. The guidelines outline the rules for labelling, advertising, composition and fortification for such products. Clearer guidelines will better support the industry in their understanding and application of the regulatory requirements.
By completing the online survey, consumers can share with the CFIA their familiarity with these products and indicate what label information is important to them.
The consumer perceptions of these foods will advise the industry on how they can better position their products in a manner that is truthful and not misleading, as required by the regulations, and provide information that supports informed buying decisions for consumers.
In Canada, sales of plant-based protein products rose 7% to more than $1.5 billion in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.