Volume 4 Issue 2 • December 20, 2010

In This Issue ...


Chinese delegations in Canada to examine beef production system

Two delegations of Chinese Inspection and Quarantine officials arrived in Canada the week of December 12. One delegation is focused on the beef trade and will be visiting Canadian cattle feeding, beef processing and laboratory operations to see Canada’s bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) control and surveillance measures in practice. The other delegation is focused on the tallow trade and will be visiting a number of rendering operations.
Both delegations commenced their Canadian visit with a full day at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)/ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) headquarters in Ottawa where they were briefed on Canada’s BSE regulations and policies. The objective of the trip is for Chinese officials to gain confidence in Canada’s overall beef production system and to approve all federally inspected facilities for export to China. The delegations will return to China on December 23. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) hopes the Chinese officials will reach a positive decision shortly after their return.

In June, China announced it would initiate a process aimed at restoration of full access for Canadian beef. This agreement marked the first time China has resumed imports of beef from a country that has had a case of BSE. The market access agreement with China is directly attributable to confidence in Canada’s strong regulatory controls and the efforts of the Canadian cattle and beef industry to ensure the safety of its beef. Of course, the unceasing efforts of Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz to regain trade played a key role.

Once this trade is fully restored, it will represent additional annual exports of $110 million for Canadian cattle producers.

Group Photo


CETA Negotiations to Move Forward

Canfax Market BriefsWhen Canada and the European Union (EU) commenced negotiations last year aimed at establishing a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), they had scheduled for Ministers to conduct a stock-taking in late 2010. This would determine whether the first year of negotiations had made sufficient progress to warrant continuation of the initiative. That stocktaking took place on December 15 in the form of a meeting in Ottawa between International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the Ministers declared that significant progress had been achieved, and negotiations will continue. Both sides confirmed that negotiations are progressing ahead of expectations and they intend to reach an agreement by the end of 2011.

On the evening prior to the Ministers’ meeting, Members of Parliament (MPs) engaged in a four hour ‘take note debate’ on the CETA negotiations.  A take note debate does not seek to reach a conclusion on an issue, but provides MPs the opportunity to stake out territory on an emerging issue. The Conservatives, Liberals and, at times, the Bloc Quebecois, expressed support for the CETA. Unfortunately, the first hour of debate was focused almost exclusively on supply management with very little discussion of the potential the CETA could offer for other agriculture sectors. Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter played a leading role in this line of questioning.

As the debate progressed, the supply management questions subsided and Conservative members noted the potential an EU deal offers to processed foods and export-oriented agriculture sectors. Conservative MPs Brad Trost from Saskatchewan and Ron Cannan from British Columbia engaged in an exchange describing the huge potential that the EU represents for Canadian beef producers and noted that CETA could address the current market access barriers on beef.  Martha Hall Findlay, the new Liberal Trade Critic, expressed strong support for trade overall and noted the strong potential the CETA offers to many sectors – in doing so, she specifically noted agriculture.  As expected, Bloc and NDP members heavily criticized the negotiation process and raised a number of issues unrelated to agriculture.

To read the transcript of the full four hours of debate on Dec. 14, click here.


No evidence to support clone claim, government records show

A Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) investigation prompted by an anonymous claim that embryos from a cow bred from a cloned animal in Britain were sold to breeders in Canada has found no evidence to support the allegation.

United Kingdom (UK) government officials have confirmed that, according to their records, no embryos from the cow have been certified for export to Canada, contrary to the claim made in the British press in August 2010. While the news article in question failed to mention the name of the exporter, or the pedigreed name of the cloned animal donating the embryos, UK government animal health officials contacted by CFIA animal health officials were able to confirm the identity of the herd and cow anonymously cited in the news story.

The herd of origin of the identified cow is known, but this herd has since dispersed. There is no evidence that any embryos from this animal were exported to Canada, the agency said.

The CFIA investigated the claim to ensure that Canadian regulations are properly enforced. As noted in the August 16 issue of Action News, food products derived from genetically modified (GM) animals are not approved for sale in Canada, including cloned animals. Health Canada policy states that food products from animal clones and their progeny are considered novel foods.

While it is the CFIA's job to ensure regulations are followed, Environment Canada is responsible for any cloned animals or animal products that may have entered Canada. Once in Canada, Health Canada has responsibility under the Food and Drugs Act to authorize the sale of products in Canada.


Alberta Beef Producers Fly-In to Ottawa

Instead of watching football on American Thanksgiving, Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) Charlie Christie, Bob Lowe, Ben Schrader and Dave Solverson joined John Masswohl and Ryder Lee in Ottawa to spend the day meeting with Members of Parliament (MP).

It was a busy day of 13 MP meetings, including Minister Rob Merrifield, Wayne Easter and most of the rural Alberta caucus. Time was made to pop in on the Standing Committee on Agriculture, which was questioning Agriculture Canada staff about safety net programs. Many of the questions MPs asked the officials were reflective of requests made by ABP and the CCA. This shows that our meetings with MPs have been getting the message across. When department officials get pressure from MPs, it adds to the weight of industry’s message.

The discussions with MPs covered several topics.  The cost of beef production in Canada and offsetting the cost of SRM regulations, implementing the National Check-off on imports, trade access including the EU, the U.S. and Korea, AgriRecovery, Price and Basis Insurance and business risk management policy as a whole were discussed.

More Fly-In days will happen in the new year as producers from many provinces come to Ottawa to reinforce the messages the CCA delivers.


Tick Talk

Ticks that spread bovine anaplasmosis are found in both Canada and the U.S., and deer that carry ticks can cross the border freely. So why hasn't bovine anaplasmosis established itself in Canada? The import control and disease eradication practices followed by the CFIA are part of the equation. But climate also appears to play a role. A recently completed BCRC study indicates that the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick doesn't reproduce very well in cool, dry weather. Click here to read more.


Seasons Greetings from the CCA

Holly"As we head into the Christmas season, may you and your family truly discover the wonder and richness of the season and enjoy a prosperous new year," CCA President Travis Toews.

CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: John Masswohl, Ryder Lee, Reynold Bergen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Tracy Sakatch

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