Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The CFFO Commentary: Helping our Consumers to Choose Ontario Food

By Henry Stevens
January 7, 2011

Canada has some strict rules regarding truth in advertising. Advertisers are expected to tell the truth about their products and refrain from misleading the buying public. There are consequences for failing to do so. That leads to several questions about whether labels, and the information they contain, should qualify as advertisements. I would argue that labels and advertisements should be held to the same standard regarding accuracy and truthfulness. And I believe that’s particularly important for identifying where food is grown.

Canadian consumers have the right to expect the complete truth about what they are buying. We should not be misled as to what certain labeling phrases actually mean. Canadians need to understand that phrases such as “processed for ….” or “packaged for…” say absolutely nothing about the origin of the raw ingredients of the product on the shelf. Such labels should raise a red flag for us. These labels usually suggest to me that the main ingredients are not Canadian grown.

Of course, there is room for watering down certain requirements on Canadian content. But if we use that approach, we need to be truthful with consumers about that fact. For example, products containing pineapples or certain spices which are not produced in Canada need to be clearly identified as such. Still, setting reasonable targets of at least 80 to 85 per cent home-grown food on products carrying the “Product of Canada” label make sense.

What should we do? The CFFO has written a letter to the editor of the major daily newspapers, as well as the many weekly papers in Ontario. We urge Ontario consumers to ask many questions regarding product labels on supermarket shelves. If they are not satisfied with the available information on the labels, they need to let their retailers and politicians know.

At the recent “Farmers Matter” event in Stratford, the message that we need clearer labeling rules in Canada was repeated over and over. Many other jurisdictions around the world find ways to differentiate their home grown products, regardless of so-called trade threats. The Foodland Ontario label, used extensively by Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers, is an example of a label carrying consumer confidence. We should expand it to include all Ontario grown products. It would eliminate the confusion currently in the marketplace and tell consumers they can buy with confidence, knowing they are buying top quality, Ontario grown foods, for themselves and their families.

So what is in a label? It can contain next to nothing regarding useful information, or it can be comprehensive and give us everything we need to know. Consumers should demand the latter, because we deserve it.



Henry Stevens is the President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.

Views: 14

Comment

You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

AITC-C celebrates over 2 million student experiences in agriculture education

Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C), along with its 10 provincial members, has connected two million students to agriculture education experiences, as reported in AITC-C’s 2020-2021 Annual Progress Report.

Moisture Content and the Hay Drying Curve

Many management decisions affect hay quality. After deciding when to cut, the next big decision is about the moisture content. Accurately timing how long to let the crop wilt when harvesting a forage crop will help ensure that it stores well.

Grain Farmers of Ontario Congratulates Lisa Thompson as New Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers, today extends its congratulations to Lisa Thompson, Member of Provincial Parliament for Huron-Bruce on her appointment as the provincial Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 

Minister Miller announces Government of Canada support for Indigenous food and agriculture initiatives

The month of June is dedicated to recognizing and honouring the achievements, history and rich cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Together, we are building a stronger and more inclusive agriculture sector that advances meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and reduces barriers for under-represented groups.

Plant the Seeds: Opportunities to Grow Ontario's Fruit and Vegetable Sector

“Plant the Seeds: Opportunities to Grow Southern Ontario's Fruit and Vegetable Sector” is a new report that outlines the opportunity to expand the $2.2 billion of fruits and vegetables grown in Ontario, including more local production of fresh grapes, pears, strawberries, garlic, eggplant, sweet potatoes, apples, snap peas, cabbage—as well as vertical farming.

© 2021   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service