Canada performs well in the areas of food safety, food security and healthy foods and diets but shows a weaker performance in the areas of industry prosperity and environmental sustainability, according to preliminary results from The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Food Observatory’s first annual report card on food.
Released today at the Food & Drink Summit 2015 in Toronto, the report assesses Canada’s food and beverage sector performance in five areas against 16 leading peer OECD countries. Identified as key elements in our Canadian Food Strategy, the five domains are: industry prosperity, healthy food and diets, food safety, household food security, and environmental sustainability.
“The genesis of our report card stems from our Canadian Food Strategy and the recognition that Canadians want foods that are safe, nutritious, affordable and available to everyone, produced in ways that are environmentally sustainable,” explains Dr. Michael Bloom, Vice-President of Industry and Business Strategy. “This annual report card represents the fulfillment of an important initiative promised in our strategy as a way to track Canada’s progress and identify emerging issues. Already, Canada performs well in several areas against international peer countries, but it could rank much higher if progress were made in key areas of our food system.”
Food Safety = A
All countries have very high food safety standards, but Canada (along with Ireland) is an excellent performer relative to its peers. For Canada, work remains to improve reporting on chemical risks in food consumption (e.g. Total Diet Studies), more frequent nutrition and dietary studies, and additional improvements to traceability and radionuclide standards.
Food Security = B
For developed countries like Canada, overall food availability is not at issue nationally. Rather, access to, and use of, safe, nutritious and affordable food remains a broad concern as some four million Canadians are affected by food insecurity due to economic constraints, natural hazards such as floods and droughts, rising animal feed and other food costs.
Healthy Foods and Diets = B
Canada’s performance in this area is helped by lower than average intake levels of salt and saturated fats, along with a diverse diet (higher share of non-starchy foods in diet) and moderate food literacy levels. However, somewhat weaker results for prevalence of diabetes, obesity and excess food acquisition hinder the country’s overall performance in this domain.