P.E.I. farmers, producers relieved after ground meat exempted from warning label
Farmers, producers, and other industry members are breathing a sigh of relief after their products were exempted from legislation that would have put a warning label on ground meat.
On Thursday, the federal government announced new rules for packaged products containing high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
When the new rules were first being discussed, there were no indication meat would be excluded.
"They made the decision not to confuse the consumer and exempt, basically, all single ingredient food products," said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab. "Which is really good for everyone."
Charlebois says a product warning on ground meat is unnecessary.
"Nobody will eat ground meat, well very few people will eat ground meat raw, but once you cook it, it's fine, it's actually in compliance with the threshold."
Packaged food with more than 15 per cent of your total daily value of fat, sugar, or salt will need to carry the new warning label, but the federal government laid out specific exemptions for all ground meat products and many cheeses during the announcement.
"The new front-of-package labelling regulations will allow consumers to make informed decisions about their food," said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "It also recognizes the nutritional value of certain foods that are either unprocessed or barely processed, such as calcium in dairy products."
That’s good news for producers, who say the move just makes sense, in part because there isn’t much difference between ground beef and other cuts of meat.
"You can buy ground beef with a low amount of fat or a higher amount of fat," said Russ Mallard, president of Atlantic Beef Products. "You can have steak cuts, some of them are quite lean, and some of them have a little bit more fat."
P.E.I. beef is known for its quality, being served in high-end restaurants at least as far away is Toronto.
Thursday’s announcement means ground meat products, some of the most economical and available kinds of proteins, will remain clear and accessible for shoppers.
The new regulations come into effect January 1, 2026.