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The link between food and health is well known. Foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals, fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other compounds, can support good health — and science is finding new ways to make good-for-you foods even better. Here are a few examples:
- A new wheat that can be used to make bread suitable for Celiac Disease sufferers;
- Specialty canola varieties with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). DHA has been shown to play an important role in brain development and function;
- A “golden banana” with higher beta carotene and iron levels to prevent malnutrition in Africa.

Did you know...

In Canada, all chickens and turkeys are raised without added hormones, so chicken products labelled “raised without the use of added hormones” are no different than chicken and turkey products without that label.

Deciphering food labels

Food labels are critically important for people with diagnosed dietary needs, in order for them to know that what they are eating is safe to consume. However, marketing labels can add a “perceived value” and be misleading, so it pays to do a little research when making food choices.

“Natural” meat

All meat is natural since it comes from animals, and is not manufactured. The only meat that can legally be labelled as “natural” is meat from animals raised without ANY human intervention of any kind, like wild game. Companies can, however, use the term “natural” to describe flavour.

Raised without antibiotics

Meat with a “Raised without antibiotics” label comes from animals that have not received any antibiotics at any time in their lives. It is important to remember that all animal proteins found in the grocery store are free of antibiotics due to testing done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. To learn more about the use of antibiotics in livestock production, visit page 34.


Gluten is a natural protein found in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and foods made with these grains. Products labelled “gluten-free” are not any healthier; they are just made with ingredients that don’t include gluten— which is particularly important for the one per cent of Canadians with celiac disease, or those with gluten sensitivities.

Absence labels

Sometimes a product will be labelled as being “free” of something, such as being gluten-free or GMO-free. However, sometimes that product doesn’t actually contain gluten in the first place, or GMO versions of that product don’t actually exist. These are called absence labels and
are a marketing tool to make one product look superior to another.