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Pulse processors welcome labelling claim

Health Canada approves protein claim for pulses


WINNIPEG, MAN. — Processors of peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are welcoming Health Canada changes that will permit them to include the statement “good source of protein” on their canned and dried products.

The new labelling claims will allow manufacturers to create more marketing opportunities, while enabling consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Beginning in November 2010, the pulse industry, with support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, funded a study to analyze the protein quality of pulses using the Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) – a measurement of protein quality recognized by Health Canada, based on a 250-mL serving, and the value from which protein source claims are calculated – and PDCAAS methodologies (the latter is used in the U.S. and internationally).

New research findings

The study, conducted by Dr. James House of the University of Manitoba and completed in 2011, showed that red kidney beans, navy beans, whole green lentils, split yellow peas, black beans and pinto beans may also be eligible for protein content claims.

Pulse Canada, the national association of pulse growers and processors, recently requested that Health Canada adopt this new protein efficiency ratio data, replacing outdated or undervalued values for some pulses. In the past only a 250-mL serving of cooked chickpeas could make a protein content claim.

The new data will be updated on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website in coming weeks.

Canada is the world’s largest pulse supplier, with exports going to more than 150 countries.