Health Canada bans carbadox in pork--after 30 years! : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Sales of veterinary drug stopped Ban may follow pending outcome of Health Canada investigation

OTTAWA (CP) -- Health Canada has ordered a halt to sale of the veterinary drug carbadox, a potential carcinogen used in the rearing of pigs intended for human food.

Legislation to ban it is expected to follow.

Departmental scientists concluded that the sale of carbadox cannot be justified in light of the potential for misuse and unintentional contamination of other products, Health Canada said Friday in a statement.

The antibiotic was approved in the 1970s for swine to prevent and treat disease and to maintain weight gain during periods of stress, such as weaning.

It has been shown that the drug, and byproducts that occur when it is metabolized, can cause cancer in rats.

Carbadox was initially approved after scientists discovered the drug and its breakdown products are not found in food derived from treated animals provided it is not administered for 35 days before slaughter.

However, reports of misuse and accidental contamination, combined with a better scientific capacity to detect breakdown products of carbadox, resulted in serious concerns about the safety of the product, the department said.

The first reported incident occurred last fall when pigs at a Quebec farm were accidentally fed carbadox and slaughtered with no withdrawal period.

All affected product was recalled and removed from stores. An investigation was started, then broadened to review carbadox use throughout the country's pork industry.

Canada promised to reassess the product's use in pigs in February in response to a European Union audit of the Canadian program for the control of residues.

Based on the reassessment, Health Canada proposed to amend food and drug regulations to ban the sale of any drug containing carbadox for administration to food-producing animals.

Health Canada concluded its safety concerns have not been met and has issued an immediate stop-sale order. The order protects consumers until completion of the regulatory process that might lead to a permanent ban. As part of this process, Health Canada will continue its review of carbadox.

Swine producers, feed mill manufacturers, veterinarians and other affected groups are being informed of the decision. Health Canada will monitor compliance with the order. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is monitoring for possible residues in food and animal feed.

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 10, 2001

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