The 2019 revision of Canada’s Food Guide will be released January 22, with Canada’s dairy and livestock sectors, which have already had plenty to say about what it may contain, especially anxious to see its recommendations.
Worrisome to both industries is the increased emphasis the guide is expected to place on eating protein-rich foods derived from plants.
Dairy Farmers of Canada earlier this month sounded alarm bells that Health Canada not ignore the scientific evidence showing milk proteins rank among the highest quality protein available to the diet.
“Milk products and other protein foods are not interchangeable,” said Isabelle Neiderer, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC’s) Director of Nutrition and Research in a news release.
Likewise, the Canadian meat industry has put forward its own arguments that all protein foods are not alike. Their additional concern is that sustainable livestock farming may get lost in the din about switching to plant-based diets.
“We’re watching really anxiously to see what it looks like,” said Brian Lemon, general manager for Manitoba Beef Producers.
The current guide was last revised in 2007.
The federal government began a three-year review of the guide in 2013, concluding that while it was mostly consistent with current science-based evidence related to diet and nutrition, it needed changes with respect to saturated fat and levels of sugar in beverages.
The Canada Food Guide has been under intensifying scrutiny, for undue industry influence on content, confusing messages about serving sizes, and trying to use a ‘one size fits all’ approach in an a diverse society, among other critiques.
Health Canada’s consultations during its review were posted online it its ‘What We Heard’ report, with its draft recommendations summary noting that ‘what matters most is what people eat on a regular basis.’
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told reporters in Ottawa Sunday that she expects the updated document to better meet the needs of Canadians, but did not provide details.