Thursday, May 22, 2008

Made In Canada EH???

I buy trusted Canadian brands and usually do not look at the labels. After listening to PM Harper about what might or might not be in the cans on my shelf, I went on an inspection tour of my pantry....the results were not pretty. First listen to the video, then let me share my results with you.

This is an idea I wholeheartedly agree with, it will help Canadian farmers, but most importantly, it will give consumer's a better idea of what we are buying.

My results, from a random sample of my pantry. (Accurate 19 times out of 20 HA!)

Hunt's Tomato Sauce...fine print, Product of the U.S.A.
Dole Pineapple Tidbits...Product of the Philippines (no big shock there)
Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup... no clue, nothing stated
Heinz Chili Style Beans...union made, where facilities exist, no idea where the actual beans are from.
Money's Mushrooms...Prepared for...where facilities exist...(small print) Product of P.R. of China
Kraft Pizza Kit...Carton made with 100% recycled fibres, made with real Kraft 100% grated parmesan cheese, where the ingredients come from? No clue!

Not one Made in Canada or Product of Canada in that random sample. These are all trusted "Canadian" brands, I buy them over "no-name" brands because I trust the quality of their product. I will still buy them, but, my eyes are a little wider open now.

What is with this...prepared for, where facilities exist label? It seems they slap a Canadian address on the label and pretend it was produced here. That needs to be cleaned up while we are cleaning up labelling practices.

I thought I was buying healthy foods, now, I'm not so sure.

So, check out your pantries, can anyone actually find a Made in Canada or Product of Canada label? I'd be interested to know what brand/product it is.

Made in Canada EH???


Reid said...

I try, where ever possible, to buy very little canned or packaged food. Granted I know the majority of my produce is coming from over seas when I don't buy it from a farmer's market, but such is the reality of life in Canada where you can't grow fresh produce all year round, or certain types of produce at all.

I refuse to buy farmed fish. And I buy only organic meat from a source I trust.

I truly believe one of the reasons we have so much cancer now is that we eat too many processed foods and not enough natural foods. Just my $0.02.

West Coast Teddi said...

I think the Americans have better labeling than we do. Found a shirt in Hawaii that said "American fabric assembled in El Salvador". At least I knew what I was buying.

John M Reynolds said...

"This is an idea I wholeheartedly agree with, it will help Canadian farmers,..." While this was not your most important point, does thismean you support protectionism?

WCT said...

John M ... protectionism in Canada means the Canadian Health Act

Reid said...

John M. You jump to the wrong conclusion. This does not promote protectionism. It's just giving more information to the consumer to make better informed choices. If a consumer wants to truly buy Canadian they should be able to make that choice.

Protectionism would be to put punitive tarrifs on a good... not an informative label.

John M Reynolds said...

I appreciate the counter arguments, but the Feds are promoting the labels as helping canadian farmers. That suggests that the goal is to get Canadians to buy Canadian products. The intent is to curtail market forces using emotion. That is still protectionism even without a tarriff.

Perhaps a different word than protectionism would be more appropriate. I was simply trying to ask if Hunter is suggesting we curtail market forces in favour of a 'buy Canadian' mantra.

hunter said...

Protectionism? No, the free market will still apply, if the companies want to use apples from China, let them. I can now make a more informed choice for my family. As I stated, I will still buy the brands I trust, but I will read the labels more carefully than before.

Should I not be able to plant a garden in my backyard and use that produce? Is that then interfering with the free market, if I give my neighbour some peas? I am taking away business from our farmer's, what if everyone did that? (I know, I'm being silly). What is a free market? One without any labelling at all? That could be very scary.

West Coast Teddi said...

Made in Canada labeling is a "small" investment in our agra-food/manufacturing industries to stimulate home sales that will "hopefully" reduce tax payer subsidized payments to those industries. The Canadian government does extensive marketing globally for our exports to spur sales, thus increase tax revenues, so I think the same applies to the domestic marketers as well.

From a macro-economic sense, until the USA and the EU cease the subsidy of their farm products specifically, then Canada won't be able to compete. Labeling is a small price to pay to tap into a potential market where consumers are looking for choice based on whatever criteria they may choose. I agree it is like a tarrif but in a free market is either accepted or rejected and not punitive.

John M Reynolds said...

It just seems to me to be discriminatory. To suggest that our farmers will be helped means the feds are expecting some people to change their buting habits based on where the product was made instead of product quality -- at least as far as the end user can tell. I also wonder if some Americans have been buying our products without realizing the come from Canada. If this idea causes 10% of Canadians and 10% of Americans to change their buying habits, Canadian manufacturers will end up taking a hit which is larger than the cost to change their labels.

WCT said...

John ... almost every label has to be changed due to the french/english requirements so "certifying Canadian Made" shouldn't be a huge new cost (incremental yes I agree). From my limited experience, all countries have a "made in ..." policy/promotion. It's more akin to " help thy neighbor" rather than discrimination in my opinion. The Americans are great promoters of their own products until Walmart comes a callin'

hunter said...

I want to thank all commentors for a really good discussion! Have you checked your pantry yet? Still no-one can give me an example of a "Product of Canada" or "Made in Canada" item they have in their pantry. If not, maybe this labelling idea is a good one. If nothing else it might make us look at the labels on the cans, before we buy it.