Health Canada’s planned regulatory amendments developed in consultation with industry

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) supports Health Canada’s plan to strengthen oversight and controls for own-use importation (OUI) of veterinary drugs and the importation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for veterinary use through proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations.

Announced today, Health Canada intends to introduce regulatory amendments that will better align Canadian oversight on the importation of veterinary drugs for own use and APIs for veterinary use with other countries. The move is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing action plan regarding antimicrobial resistance and use, and is intended to promote the prudent use of antimicrobials in food animal production. The proposed measures were developed through consultation with industry and other stakeholders and are consistent with the CCA’s position regarding OUI and APIs established more than a decade ago.

CCA General Manager Rob McNabb commended the Veterinarian Drug Directorate (VDD), Health Canada for the consultations with industry which led to the proposed amendments. The consultations provided the forum to address misperceptions of the amount and types of products that have historically been imported through OUI. VDD worked diligently with industry to clarify what veterinary products are eligible and what aren’t, he said.

“Canada’s beef cattle industry takes antimicrobial resistance seriously,” McNabb said. “The proposed measures will further support industry’s already good record of prudent and judicious use of antimicrobials as demonstrated through decades of surveillance and research.”

The CCA policy on prudent drug use was developed in 1994 as part of the original Quality Starts Here program, which evolved into the Verified Beef Production™ (VBP) program in 2004. The VBP program includes requirements pertaining to the responsible use of animal health products and record keeping to demonstrate responsible use. The VBP program is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. A new VBP module under development focuses on biosecurity and will help to minimize the risk of disease introduction and spread, and should help further reduce the need for antimicrobial use.

Since 2002 the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS) has collected and tested samples from abattoirs and retail beef. Operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the surveillance shows that resistance to antimicrobials of the highest importance in human health is very low and not increasing in Canada. The same holds for multi-drug antimicrobial resistance. Similar results have been seen in a series of collaborative studies conducted by industry and government research teams in commercial Canadian feedlots since the late 1990’s.

The very low level of antimicrobial resistance observed in Canadian cattle and beef indicate that Canada’s cattle producers use antimicrobials prudently. Research confirms this; over 90 per cent of the antimicrobials used in feedlot production are ionophores – a class of antimicrobial not used in human medicine. 

The CCA looks forward to continued collaboration with government and industry stakeholders to ensure Canada’s position as a supplier of high quality wholesome food to the world.

 For further information, contact:

Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 | teelg@cattle.ca