Tag Archives: Sausage

Food Labeling, Politics, and Vegetarian Meats in Canada

Article and interview by Alison Cole, photo illustration by Gayle Hurmuses, image from Fieldroast.

When it comes to the labelling of grain and vegetable based meats in Canada, our government has some antiquated regulations that don’t reflect upon modern food production as David Lee, owner/founder of Field Roast Grain Meat Company of Seattle, WA, found out in mid-September.

Canadians have been enjoying and have been able to purchase Field Roast’s savoury array of plant-based sausages, loaves, roasts and deli slices in our country since 2009, but that is set to stop very soon as grocery store shelves are currently on the verge of selling out their final supplies.

Last month, David was told by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that he would need to comply with Canadian food labeling standards for what they call “simulated meat products” in order to maintain distribution of all the products in Canada. According to the CFIA, any food item that takes on tFood Labeling Politics and Vegetarian Meats in Canadahe appearance and quality of a similar traditional animal flesh-based item must emulate the nutritional profile of the similar animal-based item. In other words, the nutritional profile of animal flesh is seen to be the standard in protein, fat and amino acid content as far as the Canadian government is concerned, and no other nutritional profiles that a plant-based meat would normally have are recognized as being valid or legal to sell on Canadian store shelves.

David takes issue with this regulation, and rather than comply with the CFIA as other vegan meat products have done to stay in Canada, he intends to try to work with the government to prove that the nutritional profile of his products is suitable and safe for Canadian consumers. In doing so, this may change the status quo of deeming animal protein to be the golden standard, and will pave the way for a modern update to Canada’s current food labeling laws for veggie meats, which can be seen here.

I had the chance to recently speak with David on the Animal Voices Vancouver radio show about this issue. In this interview, he speaks about his experiences with the CFIA’s recent declaration, his interpretation of the law, and his plans for proactive governmental changes in the future.

Reviews

I am so looking forward to the CRFA Trade Show next month! So much to see and taste and so many wonderful vendors to talk with about how excited THEY are about their products. I’m also looking forward to reporting back to you on what we find there.

One of last year’s favourites for me was the Elite Meats booth, where they were debuting their then new Bacon Sausage. I could not help but stop there briefly every time I was nearby to sneak another taste, or to simply inhale the fragrance and to talk to their wonderfully personable owners and staff. I also love that it is a family run business in which the second generation took up the ball (“ahem* the pigskin for you football fans) and ran with it.

In addition to that wonderful product, so much better than any other bacon sausage that I’ve had, and really better than any other sausage I can recall, they had also excellent gluten-free sausage, gluten-free peameal bacon, pepper crusted peameal, and regular (but not ordinary) peameal and sausage.

Every bit of it was everything I could ever want in a product of that kind. Yes, I am a total fangirl on this topic. In fact, I got to be a bit like those kids hanging outside of MuchMusic waiting for the stars to arrive. Pretty much everyone I ran into while walking around was hauled over to be introduced to their product.

So, you can imagine that I was more than thrilled when they offered to send me some product to cook with and evaluate. There’s nothing like being home when a semi-trailer truck pulls up in front of your home with boxes of product.

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It was everything that I had remembered and BETTER because I was able to enjoy it in my own home. Some of the photos are lost, but its the flavour that made them so special and that doesn’t always come across well in a photo anyway.

The sausages made many wonderful breakfasts, obviously great with eggs, but it was the pairing with pierogis that made me happiest, especially with the Bacon Sausage. It was so good, that I almost want to write poetry here for it. Clearly sausage, but with the best smoked bacon taste.

I served the gluten-free sausage to a colleague and neighbour for a breakfast meeting in the garden, and he commented about loving that he could not only taste, but see the flecks of seasoning and herbs in them. I’m somewhat gluten intolerant, so found these especially interesting and while not bacony at all, they were equally as good…as were the regular gluten containing, non bacon sausages.

The peameal bacon, every version of it, had the sweet succulence of great pork. The flesh was firm and substantial, the seasoning was present, but subtle, and every slice was juicy. I’m smiling just reliving the memory of the flavours from my notes.

I hope that they’re right in the entrance again.