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New food guide not that worrisome to beef producers

The Food Guide might suggest eating less beef, but producers don't believe people will follow that recommendation
canada food guide image
A healthy plate, as determined by Canada's Food Guide. (Government of Canada)

The CEO of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association doesn’t have a big beef about the demotion of beef in the new Canada Food Guide.

Plant-based proteins are rated ahead of beef protein and the guide suggests eating beef is more harmful to the environment.

Ryder Lee told a livestock producer workshop at Johnstone Auction Mart that most people will continue eating the way they have for years.

A CTV Regina online poll of 1,200 people backs up his belief. Seventy-one per cent said they don’t use the Canadian Food Guide.

“What I see when I look at the pictures in the food guide is a plate we’ve been talking about for a long time – more fruits and vegetables, half of your plate, one-quarter part proteins and grains for the rest,” he said.

Changes in eating habits recommended by the guide might help with healthier lifestyles, he said

“The way the guide talks about protein balancing and eating with your family, eating with your friends, taking time to prepare a meal — we benefit from more people taking time to prepare a meal. The products we bring to market lose a little bit in the microwave preparation.”

Besides, beef “goes well” with vegetables.

“If you’re only eating 2,000 calories a day, they had better be good ones. You’d better get the protein in you because we’re losing muscle mass and bone density in our population in a terrible way. 

“I think many people don’t get enough protein.

“Chicken, pork, eggs and especially dairy have a lot more concern. There’s no glass of milk beside that plate anymore.”

The beef industry isn’t happy about some of the guide’s language around beef and the comments about the environment instead of about nutrition.

The industry has some messages for government on guide comments about beef and the environment, as well as for consumers.

“You will see industry messages to give permission to consumers to enjoy beef as much as they’d like. We’ve got a great story to tell.”
Ron Walter can be reached at

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