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Complaint Filed Against “Made In Palestine” Food Labels In Canada

Place of origin labelling practice being challenged

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“Made in Palestine” labels are “false and misleading” under applicable law and must be corrected, argues a formal complaint filed last week with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Shown is Ron East holding a similar example of “from Palestine” food labeling that he successfully complained about in 2019. (Photo: File)

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In the aftermath of a ruling about whether certain winery products were appropriately called a “Product of Israel”, the place of origin issue is being challenged in Canada from the opposite direction, with the legitimacy of “Made in Palestine” labels on certain retail olive oils being questioned.

The National Post was first to report that a formal complaint was filed last week with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), to challenge the “Made in Palestine” labels on olive oils sold throughout Canada.

The Lawfare Project and Professor Eugene Kontorovich — with the assistance of Toronto-based law firm RE-LAW LLP, argue that “these labels are false and misleading, in violation of Canadian labeling law and a recent CFIA decision regarding Israeli products, because Canada does not recognize “Palestine” as a country.”

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Kontorovich, who is Director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, explained:

“The CFIA has said Israeli wines from the area can be labeled ‘Made in Israel’ with additional clarifying information — but nothing can keep a ‘Made in Palestine’ label from being misleading because there simply is no such country, as the Canadian government has repeatedly affirmed. If the CFIA truly cares about accurate labeling, and not merely anti-Israel activism, it must immediately remove the labels from these olive oils.”

According to a formal submission to the International Criminal Court in 2020, the government stressed “Canada’s long-standing position that it does not recognize a Palestinian state.” 

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“In a democracy, the law applies equally,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director and Founder of The Lawfare Project. “Product labeling rules cannot be applied differently with respect to Jewish-made products versus Arab-made products.”

The Lawfare Project is designed to “protect the civil and human rights of the Jewish people via impact litigation.” Goldstein laid out the main point of the complaint to regulators: “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has made clear that Canadian regulations require labels to be accurate. Canada does not recognize any country called ‘Palestine,’ so labeling products as ‘Made in Palestine’ is grossly inaccurate. Therefore, we are requesting that products made in territories administered by the Palestine Authority be labeled as such.”

“If the CFIA truly cares about accurate labeling and not merely anti-Israel activism,” stated Kontorovich “it must immediately remove the labels from these olive oils.”

In May, the CFIA ruled that wines produced by Israeli winery Psagot would be allowed keep using “Made in Israel” labels. The CFIA said the “Made in Israel” labels with clarifying information that Israel is the administrating authority in the region – are not false or misleading. 

Examples of olive oil with labeling affirming it is ‘made in Palestine’. Under Canadian regulations,Canada does not currently recognize a Palestinian state.” (Photo: File)

The question of the labeling of food promoted as a “Product of Palestine” was originally raised by Ron East of the Israeli Canadian Council in the fall of 2019.

East, who is publisher of TheJ.ca, received a reply that November from CFIA that stated: “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) looks to Global Affairs Canada for advice on what is considered a country, where it is not clear, for labeling compliance purposes. Global Affairs Canada has advised that Canada does not currently recognize a Palestinian state.”

Around the same time in response to public complaints, CFIA ordered the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to put a hold on the sale of Taybeh wine and beers, which were labeled “Made in Palestine”. 

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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