Company statements: Food Secrets

Health Canada:

Deli meats:

"Health Canada and the CFIA are aware of the practice of using "cultured or fermented vegetables" (eg. cultured celery) in products as an alternative source for nitrates/nitrites. The CFIA is reviewing the use of certain claims that are made by producers of meat products made with cultured/modified celery salt.   The CFIA will notify industry upon completion of the review."

On labelling mechanically tenderized beef:

"Health Canada plans to begin consulting with Canadians in the coming months, and the regulatory process for the new labelling requirements for mechanically tenderized beef is expected to be initiated in 2014.  Currently, Health Canada encourages voluntary labelling of mechanically tenderized beef at the retail level."

On antiobiotic-resistant bacteria on chicken:

"CIPARS (led by PHAC) has been collecting data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) since 2002.  CIPARS monitors the fluctuations of resistance within provinces where retail sampling is taking place.  

"Discussions with the Canadian chicken industry about this issue led to the formation and launch of a broiler chicken farm surveillance component in April 2013. This involves sampling flocks in the major chicken-producing provinces of BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Information on antimicrobial use at the hatchery and flock level is also collected.

"Health Canada has been actively working with other federal department partners (CFIA, PHAC, AAFC), provincial/territorial authorities, veterinary associations and producers (including poultry producers) to address the emerging antimicrobial resistance issues (such as those observed by CIPARS) and to promote antimicrobial stewardship.

"In 2012, the only indication of ceftiofur (a third-generation cephalosporin) for use in turkey poults was withdrawn from the Canadian market. Therefore, in Canada, none of the antimicrobials on the WHO list of critically important antimicrobials, including ceftiofur, are approved  for use in chickens/poultry or for mass-medication use in food animals. Antimicrobials are considered to be critically important if they are sole therapies or one of few alternatives to treat serious human disease.

In 2012, the U.S. FDA put forth a ban on extra-label use of third-generation cephalosporins; however, the U.S. continues to have cephalosporin-containing products approved for use in chicks and turkey poults, whereas in Canada there are none.

"As a result of CIPARS findings, in 2007 Health Canada requested drug manufacturers to include antimicrobial resistance warning statements on product labels recommending against the extra-label drug use (ELDU) of third-generation cephalosporins. Health Canada has also developed a policy on ELDU to promote the prudent use of veterinary antimicrobial drugs. This policy specifically recommends that critically-important antimicrobials should not be used in an extra-label manner. The policy is available on Health Canada's web site."

On fish mislabelling:

"Canadian consumers have a right to truthful labelling so they can make informed decisions about the food they are buying. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is developing a plan to verify that fish in the marketplace is appropriately labelled.  The aim of this initiative would be to determine to what extent fish species substitution may be occurring in Canada and which species tend to be substituted.

"Industry is responsible for ensuring that its products comply with all required legislation and policies. The CFIA establishes and conducts sampling activities for fish species substitution, in both the federally registered sector and the non-federally registered sector, to verify that fish products comply with regulatory requirements. These activities include:

  • regular inspections at the import, processing and retail levels, and
  • inspections in response to complaints from consumers and industry

"When the CFIA identifies non-compliant products, appropriate enforcement action is taken.

"Inspectors can assess the accuracy of label claims about fish species through visual inspections, verification of labels against other documents, or through lab analyses. Testing for fish species identification is done by DNA testing."


Maple Leaf

“We are responsible for providing accurate information about our products so that consumers can purchase food that is right for them. Nitrites occur in many fruits and vegetables that we eat as part of a healthy diet. Health Canada requires that nitrate and nitrite are used in certain cured meats to protect food safety. We use cultured celery extract in our Natural Selections and Country Naturals products, which contain nitrites naturally found in celery. Our labels state that cultured celery extract and sea salt contain naturally occurring nitrites. We do not add preservatives or nitrites beyond those naturally occurring in the ingredients.” 

Randy Huffman
Chief Food Safety Officer
Maple Leaf Foods


Chicken Farmers of Canada