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e-2614 (Health)

Initiated by Kattrina Horner from Eckville, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The Canadian Cancer Society recommendations are for Canadians to avoid processed meats;
  • Processed meat is considered to be any meat derived from the carcass of an animal which has been modified in order to either improve its taste or extend its shelf life;
  • Methods of meat processing include adding salt, curing, fermentation, and smoking;
  • Examples of processed meat include ham, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, hamburgers, beef jerky and deli meats, including roast beef, chicken, and turkey;
  • Over 800 studies were evaluated by the IARC/WHO and the conclusions were primarily based on the evidence for colorectal cancer;
  • Data also showed positive associations between processed meat consumption and bowel and stomach cancers;
  • This demonstrated sufficient evidence that processed meats cause cancer and resulted in the classification of processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, on the same list as tobacco smoke and asbestos;
  • Processed meats are served daily in prisons, schools, daycares, seniors' homes, businesses, restaurants, and grocery stores; and
  • Many citizens are unaware and uninformed about the health risks they are taking when choosing processed meats.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to help protect its citizens by doing the due diligence of having mandatory carcinogenic warning information labels on the packaging of processed meat foods that we are consuming.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

Canada has a strong food safety program that helps to ensure that foods sold in Canada are safe to eat and that Canadians have the information they need to make healthy food choices. Health Canada bases its dietary guidance on high-quality scientific evidence on the relationships between food, nutrients and health.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Cancer Research Fund International have both made evaluations of processed meat. Their reports concluded that the totality of evidence is convincing that the consumption of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. These reports helped inform the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide, which, in accordance with this high-quality scientific evidence, recommends limiting highly processed foods, including processed meats.

Open for signature
June 1, 2020, at 12:03 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
August 30, 2020, at 12:03 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
February 26, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00576)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus
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