Canadian and the US regulators are now developing a program to ensure no residues of the antibiotic Carbadox end up in pork.
In 2001 the sale of Carbadox was halted in Canada due to potential human health concerns related to residues in pork and now Health Canada is considering including Carbadox in the list of prohibited substances.
Following a stakeholder meeting last week involving Canadian and US regulatory agencies, Canadian industry and the drug's manufacturer, Health Canada stated, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with the US Department of Agriculture to develop a mutually satisfactory monitoring and testing program that will ensure no desoxy-carbadox in the Canadian Food system.
However, Health Canada will continue to explore options for a proposed regulatory amendment.
Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice outlines what the monitoring program will need to accomplish.
"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency needs to see how the particular Carbadox metabolite that has been of concern is going to be monitored to ensure that there's a high degree of confidence that it's not in meat in Canada, whether that meat is imported or domestically produced.
The monitoring system would need to establish that that metabolite called desoxy-carbadox is being monitored.
I think that question exists right now, whether or not the desoxy-carbadox metabolite is being watched for and, once that has been confirmed, then I think there's a very good chance we can have the changes put in place that would meet the objectives of all parties to avoid any unnecessary trade implications.
Health Canada has indicated the proposed regulatory amendment may be reconsidered if a monitoring program will adequately address its concerns.