Canada to Import Unhealthy Lower Quality Milk From U.S. After New Trade Agreement

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The new U.S.–Mexico–Canada trade agreement would have Canadian dairy farmers losing an additional 3.6 per cent of their market and would also impose unprecedented export controls bringing to an end, a dairy ingredient pricing system that was helping dairy processors compete without using cheap American imports.

Those in support of this move are of the opinion that liberalizing dairy markets would bring in more competition bringing the price of Canadian dairy products down for consumers. However, reports on CBC News Monday suggested little would change for consumers in terms of price.

Instead it is feared that the importation of less quality milked produced with the use of bovine growth hormones would begin entering Canada's market once importation from the U.S. commences. Even though most U.S. dairy brand products are marketed as hormone free, it is feared that a whole lot of them are loaded with hormones. These hormones, which are mostly used by American farmers to milk cows, are banned in Canada, due to the fact that they make the cows sick.Media reports say that approximately 17 per cent of all farms in the U.S. useRecombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH), also known as recombinant bovine somatropin (rbST).

Already, milk producers in Canada, have made new logos that help caution milk drinkers on the difference between U.S milk and hormone free milk, it is not yet clear if they would be allowed to do this after the U.S. imports commence as the International trade does not support non-tariff barriers which cannot be proved by demonstrable science.

The banned hormone, rbST, was reviewed by Health Canada in the 1990's. The hormone was determined to have no capacity to cause any harm in the human body, but it did pose a risk to the lives of the animals being milked.

According to The Huffington Post, the official reason why rbST was never approved in Canada is as follows:

“RbST use causes 'an increased risk of mastitis of up to 25%, of infertility by 18%, and of lameness by up to 50%. These increased risks and overall reduced body condition lead to a 20-25% increased risk of culling from the herd.'

Even though these hormones have not been scientifically proven to be harmful to human health, no one knows what future research would reveal, especially since these hormones have been proven harmful to animals.

There is still no argument that to err on the side of caution, Canadian milk is the option to go with. Milk consumers are therefore advised to consider quality, when making purchases.

According to Renée Bergeron, PhD, agr, an Associate Professor, Animal and Poultry Science, at the University of Guelph, Canadian milk is safe because:

The use of artificial growth hormones (e.g., rbST) is not permitted in Canada.

Measures are taken to prevent antibiotics from entering the Canadian milk supply.

Programs to monitor milk quality and animal welfare have been established in the dairy industry.