As Canadians, we are used to having access to a wide range of products from around the world on our supermarket shelves. But as COVID-19 continues to impact our food supply, more and more Canadians are interested in buying locally-made or grown products. Buying Canadian keeps jobs in Canada and supports our economy. Many of us also want to purchase products that are made and processed here in Canada because we trust Canadian food safety standards. Below, you will find tips on how you can “buy Canadian” the next time you go grocery shopping.

Identifying Canadian-produced food and products

How do you tell if a product is Canadian? The Canadian government has put in place strict rules around which products get granted the “Product of Canada” and the “Made in Canada” labels and logos. Let’s dig deeper to understand the difference between “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada”:

Product of Canada

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, food producers that use Canadian ingredients and who process those ingredients in Canada with Canadian labour can declare the final product as “Product of Canada”. To qualify, at least 98 per cent of the product’s total direct cost of production or manufacturing must occur in Canada. The claim “Canadian” is considered to be the same as the “Product of Canada” claim.
• Meat & poultry: animals must be born or hatched, raised and slaughtered in Canada. Feeder cattle — weaned 6-10 months old calves — who have spent at least 60 days, as per international animal health standards, in Canada where they are fed, raised and slaughtered can also claim “Product of Canada” label.
• Seafood and fish: seafood and fish must be caught in Canadian waters and processed in a Canadian establishment using Canadian ingredients.
• Produce: can use imported agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilizers, animal feed, and medications and still be use the “Product of Canada” label.

To label a product as “100 per cent Canadian,” all the ingredients, processing, and labour used to make that product must be entirely Canadian.

Made in Canada

The “Made in Canada” label can be used if the last substantial transformation of the product occurred in Canada, even if the ingredients came from another country. Substantial transformation refers to a food product that undergoes processing which completely changes its nature and becomes a new product with a new name, such as combining dough, cheese, and other ingredients to make pizza. Food products that contain both domestic and imported ingredients can take on the “Made in Canada From Domestic and Imported Ingredients” label. This label is given when 51 per cent of the total direct cost of production or manufacturing occurs in Canada.

To help you buy Canadian next time you head to the grocery store, the following is a brief summary of a Global News article that lists common supermarket products — categorized under beverages, condiments, dairy, produce, etc. — that are “Made in Canada” or are “Product of Canada”:

The next time you are shopping for your morning cup of coffee, you can verify whether or not your favourite brand is roasted and packaged in Canada by checking the label. While Canada does not grow coffee beans, there are companies here who do roast and package the coffee. When it comes to orange juice, Canada receives concentrate from South America, re-adds the water and packages it in Canadian plants. Bottled water, on the other hand, is widely labelled with information about its country of origin, and there are plenty of “Product of Canada” bottled waters, such as the Quebec-based Naya brand.

If you love your condiments, you should be able to easily find jam, maple sugar and syrup, ketchup, and tomato sauce that are produced and prepared in Canada. Condiments like soy sauce, mayonnaise, and salad dressing are more likely to be produced outside of Canada.

Most dairy products, including yogurt, are made with Canadian milk. Look for the blue cow label that Dairy Farmers of Canada stamps on products to ensure you are getting Canadian dairy that follows Canadian processing standards.

Given the season, you may find some fruits and vegetables labelled “Produce of Canada” or “Canada” in the supermarkets. If you want to be 100 per cent sure that you are buying Canadian produce, visit your local farmer’s market or order directly from local farms via their websites.

For a list of Canadian-made goods and produce, check out the Made in Canada database, compiled and managed by Tyler Campbell and his family. This website provides information about goods that are made by Canadian companies and/or manufactured within Canada.



Origin claims on food labels

Shopping Canadian at Grocery Stores

Farmwork to Feed Canada (F2FC) is a national volunteer not-for-profit initiative by Canadian communication professionals, students, and recent graduates in communications. F2FC collaborates with farmers, and agri-businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges to Canada’s food supply and food security, to engage Canadians, pro bono, with compelling stories about their food system and build support for Canada’s farmers, food producers, and their essential skilled workers.

Heather Mah

Heather Mah

Heather Mah is a Farmwork to Feed writer and a student in the Public Relations Program at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

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