The recent outcry of Alberta meat producers, and now the province of Alberta, over new requirements to label the front of a package of ground beef to indicate that it is high in fat, along with the media coverage and commentary to date, has largely ignored the rationale for such labels, the broader context and the lengthy political process which resulted in such labelling requirements.
What is the rationale? A headline in the Guardian newspaper in 2019 declared “Bad diets killing more people than tobacco” highlighting a study in the Lancet outlining the impact of improper nutrition on disease and morbidity. According to the study, over 11 million people died globally as a result of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes, which are related to diet and food choices that resulted in poor nutrition.
As a result of