After some pressure from the agriculture sector, last Wednesday, the Standing Committee on Health indicated additional meetings will be added to study Canada's New Food Guide.

There was a concern the new Food Guide was moving in a direction that would discourage consumers from eating animal proteins and dairy.

Conservative Associate Agriculture Critic and Foothills M.P., John Barlow, says the Committee will be inviting agriculture stakeholders to participate in the study.

"What I've seen and heard so far, is an additional three or four meetings. They have quite an extensive list of agriculture stakeholders, industry stakeholders, and health experts who they are going to be including as a part of the study, so the witnesses that they are going to be inviting looks like a comprehensive list, and we're happy with the testimony they will be including as a part of the study."

Barlow says they are pleased they will be including health experts who are bringing a different perspective from the original direction of the new Canada Food Guide.

He adds, the Health Committee has done two meetings on the Food Guide study, hearing from only 6 witnesses.

"It's just not nearly enough. Especially when it seems the witnesses you chose to be part of that discussion were very one-sided. I have letters from literally 700 medical professionals who have signed this letter outlining their concerns about the Food Guide. A lot of it has to do with discouraging Canadians from eating animal proteins. There are minerals, vitamins, and proteins that you get from animal proteins that you can't get from lentils, pulses, and those types of things, but also the focus on saturated fats and sodium, which they feel is really out of date. They should be focusing on addressing, or limiting, intake of trans fats, not saturated fats."

He says It seems Health Canada based the direction of the new Food Guide on data from the 1970's.

"They weren't looking at up to date, new studies and scientific data that kind of debunks those old misconceptions of saturated fats, sodium, natural sugars, and those types of things."

Barlow says they want to make sure Health Canada is taking a balanced approach hearing from both sides of the table.

Barlow gives credit to producers and agriculture stakeholders for the added meetings.

"We have to thank our stakeholders, our producers, farmers, ranchers, agri-businesses,and processors who worked with us, the Conservative members on the Agriculture Committee and the Health Committee, to put some pressure on Health Canada and the Liberal members of those committees to see that the direction they were going with the study on the Canada Food Guide was wrong. "

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