TPP deal allows milk from hormone treated cows into Canada

Friday October 23, 2015 As It Happens – CBC Radio

TPP deal allows milk from hormone treated cows into Canada

Former Health Canada Dr. Shiv Chopra. (cp images)

Listen 6:07

There are worries that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal means milk from hormone treated U.S. cows could end up in Canadian supermarkets.

Shiv Chopra is a former Health Canada scientist who lost his job after raising the alarm about dangers posed by bovine growth hormone (BGH). Partially because of his work, it is currently illegal to use the drug to boost milk production in Canada.

Chopra tells As It Happens host Carol Off, “We worked upon it so much and got [bovine growth hormone] rejected in Canada…Now, under the trade agreement, it’s going to let the flood-gates open.”

TPP negotiators have told CBC that Canadian health and safety regulations will apply to all imported products. But that does not mean dairy producers in the U.S. have to follow the same rules Canadian farms do.

There are fewer restrictions on hormone use on U.S. cows.

According to Chopra, “The damage that occurs to the milk, to the cows, ultimately it translates into human health hazards. As a result, you not only get the BGH but also an insulin growth-like hormone that causes cancer.”

Even with new labelling, Chopra believes Canadian consumers won’t fully know where their milk is sourced.

Yves Leduc from the Dairy Farmers of Canada told CBC he’s concerned about a “double standard” between U.S. and Canadian farmers.

“It seems incoherent to restrict the use of rBST in Canada, when products made with the hormone can still enter the Canadian market,” he wrote to CBC News.

Chopra is also worried about what the trade agreement could mean for Canadian dairy products that are sold abroad.

“The European Union actually banned BGH. That means our dairy products, if now mixed up with TPP, they cannot go to the European Union. That’s going to harm our trade, our jobs, our agriculture.

“We should be listening to our dairy farmers. They know better.”

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