when the european commission blasted Canada for its use of banned veterinary drugs and cancer-causing growth hormones in livestock last winter, officials at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) were quick to claim that the findings leaked in a draft report were only preliminary. Well, the final results are now in, and the picture painted of Canada's food inspection system by the EC is just as tainted.
The report notes that the Canadian government has taken steps to fix some deficiencies in its food inspection system but that serious shortcomings remain. "In the most critical areas," the EC report says, "the proposed action is still insufficient to meet European safety requirements."
And significant risks to the food supply still exist, the EC report says, from "the absence of controls and restrictions of hormonal growth-promoters and veterinary drugs... (and) the absence of a prohibition for a number of harmful substances, which are banned in the European Union because of their carcinogenic and/or mutagenic potential in animals."
Brian Evans, Canada's chief veterinary officer of health, says, the EC's findings aside, what's noteworthy is that the EC has not banned imports.
"We have not adopted their regulatory regime, nor is it our intention to do so," Evans says. "Some of the areas of science still remain in dispute."