The much-awaited changes to the Canada Food Guide have been released! The newest edition encourages Canadians to move away from excess dairy and meat consumption, and consume more plant-based foods.
The last time the Canada Food Guide was updated was in 2007. For years, Health Canada has been working on the newest version, relying on science, stakeholder, and public consultation—and rejecting meat and dairy lobbyists in the process.
In the new Canada Food Guide, one of the most noteworthy changes is the complete removal of the “meat and alternatives” and “dairy and alternatives” categories seen in previous versions. Instead, the new guide focuses on guidelines for healthy eating, with an emphasis on plant-based protein and fats, and stating that water is the optimal beverage.
These changes to the food guide are a win-win-win—for the health of Canadians, for the well-being of animals, and for the planet. Canada’s Food Guide has widespread influence, guiding regular citizens, schools, hospitals, and other institutions on the best way to create nutritious meals.
When the draft of the Canada Food Guide was released in 2017, it was faced with heavy opposition from Big Meat and Big Dairy. These industries attempted to lobby in support of recommending meat and dairy consumption, but to protect the integrity of the food guide, Health Canada refused to have closed-door meetings with the food industry.
But the federal lobbying records show that the meat and dairy industries tried to get around this by instead lobbying MPs and other decision makers to influence the guide’s outcome. The House of Commons Agriculture Committee even held public hearings, and issued a report suggesting the food guide reflect industry business priorities.
We applaud Health Canada for seeking truth from science, and refusing to bow down to the influence of industries that inflict horrific suffering on animals. These changes to the Canada Food Guide will surely inspire a more sustainable, animal-friendly, and healthier future for Canadians.
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