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October 24, 2007

CBC Marketplace goes in search of the Product of Canada

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CBC's Marketplace aired tonight (watch it!) with Wendy Mesley wondering what the label "Product of Canada" on food packaging really means. Much to our dismay, the regulations state that a product need only have at least 51% of its production costs spent in Canada. That means it could be, for example, grown or caught in Indonesia, processed in China, shipped to Halifax for seasoning and packaging, and trucked across the country to be bought in Vancouver. As long as at least 51% of the shipping, labour, and overhead costs, etc., were incurred in Canada, regardless of ingredients, the product can be labelled Product of Canada. So that explains why your canned pineapple is a "Canadian product." This misleading regulation is out of date in today's Canada that imports 40% of the food we eat, versus 20% in 1985 when the legislation was made.

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