What we heard report – Consultation on proposed changes to the Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 3 – Processed Fruit or Vegetable Products
The requirements for diced or cubed white potatoes packaged in a hermetically sealed package are outlined in section 40 of the Canadian Grade Compendium: Volume 3 – Processed Fruit or Vegetable Products.
Following a request from Canadian industry, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing changes to these requirements, to increase the maximum dice size from 10 mm to 20 mm.
The objective of the proposed amendments is to reflect the following:
- a response to changes in the market for this product
- a need to ensure consistency of products for consumers (the contents of canned products are not visible at the time of purchase)
- the need for a consistent trading language for domestic manufacturers and importers (a manufacturer can be assured of receiving the correct product when ordered)
The consultation was open for comments from January 21 to February 21, 2022.
This report summarizes the feedback received and the next steps for finalizing the new grade requirements.
Who we heard from
The CFIA received feedback from 1 national industry association, 1 producer/packer, 2 representatives of academia and several dozen members of the public.
What we heard
Of the comments received that were in the scope of the consultation question, there was support to proceed with the proposed changes. Other comments raised questions about the purpose of food grades, their relevance in the marketplace and the CFIA's role in providing oversight. Here are the highlights of those comments.
There was overall support for the proposed changes to the maximum size of diced or cubed processed potatoes:
- 1 national industry association confirmed they had no objection to the proposed changes
- 1 academic representative commended CFIA on seeking input from a variety of stakeholders and using communication methods that reach younger consumers
- several members of the general public commented that the increase in maximum size would be better for cooking and would result in better taste
There were 3 consumer comments opposed to the change:
- 1 was opposed to the change based on their preference for a smaller dice size
- 1 said they might stop purchasing the product if the size increases because, with the current size, they have no need to further dice them before cooking
- 1 questioned whether the proposed change would result in an increased cost
Some comments were received regarding the role of food grades in the Canadian marketplace:
- a number of comments from consumers questioned whether this food requires a grade standard
- other comments from consumers questioned the role of grade standards more generally and suggested that issues like this one could be shaped by the market (that is, consumers expressing their preferences through their purchasing decisions)
In light of the general support for the proposed changes, CFIA will amend the grade standard and requirements governing the maximum size of diced or cubed white potatoes packaged in hermetically sealed packages.
Regarding the comments that pertained to using grades standards more generally, CFIA believes this is valuable information. The agency will retain these comments for future work on grade standards.
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