Introduce a vegetarian label for supermarket products in Canada

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Problem
Canada is a proudly multicultural country, however grocery shopping is not easy for people from a wide range of cultures and religions. Research at Dalhousie University suggested that over 2.3 million Canadians identify as vegetarian. That's 2.3 million people who have to read the entire ingredient list of every product they purchase, looking out for anything containing animal fats. This includes people from a variety of major religions, such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam, as well as those with other reasons for maintaining a vegetarian or animal-free diet.

Analysing ingredients is not an easy task for the average Canadian. We read terms such as: mono and diglycerides, ascorbic acid, lecithin, and glycerol. Not knowing what these are, we must resort to a google search of at least five ingredients per item before deciding to purchase. Even then, some ingredients are "sometimes plant-based, sometimes animal-based" but the ingredient list is not clear about the origin. It can take up to ten minutes just to purchase a jar of pasta sauce.

This long ingredients check applies to every packaged food item imagineable: bread, cheese, butter, yogurt, cakes, chocolates, chips, cereal, spreads, condiments, salad dressings, coffee, drinks, you name it!

Solution
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency should introduce a "vegetarian" symbol for food packaging and encourage all major food companies and supermarkets to use this symbol for their items which are free of animal-fats - this does not include dairy products and eggs. This vegetarian symbol is widely available in European countries, and it is time for Canada to adopt it too. Make it easier for over 2.3 million Canadians to buy their groceries every week.


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