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In memory of Senator Eugene Whelan, and the Whistle blowers.
EXCERPT from the Senate Report, 1999:
Recombinant bovine somatotropin is a non-therapeutic drug, produced by genetic engineering, which can increase milk production in dairy cattle. For more than a decade, the long-term effect of rBST on animals and on people has been the subject of controversy. In 1990, Health Canada received a submission from a manufacturer that wanted to market rBST in Canada. (you will be rewarded by reading more of the Report – – see below)
Some quick background, and then: ANOTHER AVENUE I THINK WE SHOULD PURSUE
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Battle raged throughout the 1990s. 1993 – the USA, FDA licensed rBGH, also known as rBST, for use in cattle. (The product name given by Monsanto to rBGH is “Posilac”.)
(Bayer-) Monsanto wanted to expand that market into Canada and Europe.
Senator Eugene Whelan from Manitoba had been a long-time Minister of Agriculture. He was the force behind the Senate inquiry into the swirling waters around the licensing of Monsanto’s rBGH. A Health Canada official blew the whistle on attempted bribery by Monsanto during the Senate Inquiry.
Scroll down to:
rBST AND THE DRUG APPROVAL PROCESS
Interim Report, March 1999
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
rBGH was not, and is not, licensed for use in Canada as a consequence of the Senate Inquiry. Which is to say, rBGH is illegal in Canada (safety was never proven – – that’s why you try bribery).
The Europeans found as Canada found – – licensing of rBGH was ALSO refused in Europe.
But now, under NAFTA 2.0 and other trade deals, the gate is open for rBGH milk to flow into Canada. Canada’s supply management dairy system is gone, or altered. And the parties to a Trade Deal agree to lowest common denominator regulation. If rBGH is legal in the U.S. and in Mexico (which it is), it cannot be illegal in Canada, as I understand the trade deals.
You will never know what “milk” you are drinking. Labelling of GMO food products is not required in the US, or in Canada. (It IS required in Europe.)
There are two things you can do:
- Sign the petition calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to keep this harmful synthetic hormone out of Canada. (Full text below.)
NOTE: When you read the Executive Summary and List of Recommendations of the Standing Senate Committee, Agriculture Report, (1999) – – excerpt below, in itself kind of shocking, you see:
- corporations (in this case (Bayer-) Monsanto, could not get what they wanted under Canadian legislation and regulations (thanks to whistle blowers.)
- that did not end their efforts – – i.e. they do not respect “no”.
- the corporations found they can use Trade Deals to get what they want
- which means that we are not a Sovereign Nation. Our Legislators are not sovereign, and there is a higher authority than the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Stated clearly: our Government is usurped. Our rulers are the Corporations. They wrangle the laws.
Canadians do not want rBGH in their dairy products, any more than the Americans do. Will we get it? And will we know, if we get it?
For the record: American citizens fought the FDA, hard, to stop rBGH from entering their food supply in the first place. In a corrupted system, and without whistle-blowers, they lost. That was 1993. But in the end, American consumers achieved a very significant victory. See A Time-Line on “Monsanto Milk” (rBGH) reveals . . . Only thing is – – it took them 20 or 30 years. I don’t know if they know what they accomplished!
The Centre for Food Safety information on bovine growth hormone: https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/1044/rbgh/about-rbgh
Aug 2007: “The big food chain in the U.S., Kroger, will end its sales of milk from cows injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone….”
(Unrelenting action by US citizens caused Kroger to change. There’s a list of other retail food entities who did the same, on the Center for Food Safety website.)
I don’t like the idea of letting this stuff into Canada, and then fighting for 25 or more years to get rid of it. I’ll be dead before then.
(“Dumping” of American goods that the Americans don’t want, into the Canadian and European markets is also an issue, from my perspective. The Time-Line shows that the major dumping is going to be into Mexico, Central and South America (“3rd world countries”), unless we step up and get information to them.)
ANOTHER AVENUE I THINK WE SHOULD PURSUE:
(Applying the principles of “All our Cowardice and Servility” from the Museum of Non-violent Resistance)
Talk with anyone in Canada who sells milk. It will be an advantage for them to have their milk labelled “No Bovine Growth Hormone. or “Free from artificial growth hormones” or words to that effect. It will take them a while to change their labels.
When cheap, unwanted USA milk that contains rBGH is allowed into Canada because of Trade Deals and no labeling, we will at least have a choice in what milk we’re drinking, if our milk is already labelled “Free of Bovine Growth Hormone“.
(Note that the retailers of milk in Canada today, who add POWDERED milk to their product, may be adding rBGH – – I worked briefly with a well-respected, retired MP (Ralph Ferguson) from southern Ontario some years ago. Tanker trucks of milk from the USA cross the border into Canada every day, destined for ?? . . . . milk allergies . . . to which milk? With no labelling, who knows? And with little (no?) enforcement of regulations, who knows?
TWO THREE FOUR EASY ACTIONS:
- sign the Petition
- if you consume milk, cream, cheese, or yogurt, whose product do you purchase? Look them up, find a phone number. Talk to them about the advantage of labeling “No Bovine Growth Hormone”. It will be appreciated by their customers – – it’s the only way (short of buying our own cows) that we have of knowing that there is no recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone in our dairy products.
- Forward the information on rBGH to people you know who use dairy products.
- I sent an email to one Senator.
There is not one benefit for Canadians – – or people in other countries – – to having rBGH in our milk. The only beneficiary is the owner of the rBGH (“Posilac”) manufacturing plant in Augusta, GA, USA. UPDATE: as of August 2018, that owner is a large Brazilian pharmaceutical company, “Agener” – – see the Time-Line.
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*MAM is the March Against Monsanto. Hugely successful if you consider that the company named Monsanto no longer exists. And Bayer Crop Science is in big trouble as a consequence of buying Monsanto and its products.
(Prescient – EXCERPT)
The big food chain in the U.S., Kroger, will end its sales of milk from cows injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone. . . .
I am concerned that if the large American grocery stores block the sales of milk from cows injected with rBGH, Canada will be used more and more as a dumping ground for it. Hence my letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency below.
Scroll quite far down to the heading:
CHEMICAL INDUSTRY, A HISTORY OF LIES AND CORRUPTION
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FULL TEXT, Council of Canadians Petition, with thanks to Maude Barlow
From: Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
Sent: October 12, 2018
Subject: Keep Monsanto milk out of Canada
If you drink milk or eat dairy products, you’ll want to read on.
Years ago, agrochemical giant Monsanto developed a synthetic bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to artificially increase milk production in cows.
If you think that sounds unsafe for cows, you’re right. Cows injected with rBGH, pushed to yield unnaturally large quantities of milk, suffer greater stress and higher incidences of painful udder infections, reproductive disorders, swollen legs and premature death.
Health Canada scientists have also raised concerns over rBGH passing on to humans through consumption, and that “such long-term health risks as sterility, infertility, birth defects, cancer and immunological consequences ha[ve] not been investigated.”
In response, the Council of Canadians and our supporters from across the country came together to lead a massive grassroots campaign that succeeded in pressuring the Canadian government to keep this harmful substance out of our cows and dairy supply.
To this day, rBGH is not licensed for use in Canada. However, new developments could now see it flood into grocery stores across the country.
In the U.S., dairy farmers are permitted to inject rBGH into their cows. And now, under NAFTA 2.0 – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – Canada has given unprecedented access for U.S. milk laced with this synthetic hormone to be sold in our grocery stores alongside rBGH-free milk from Canadian dairy farms that generations have come to know and trust.
At the same time, Canada is on the verge of ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The sweeping 11-nation trade agreement would force us to further open the door to milk imported from countries that, like the U.S., permit the use of rBGH.
Canada’s decision not to license rBGH is just one of many of our higher safety standards that are threatened by these new trade agreements – and the Government of Canada must now stand firm in upholding it.
The fact that we’re back fighting to stop rBGH again so many years later illustrates why we must remain vigilant in challenging trade deals that undermine the public interest. We’ve won the rBGH fight before, and with your help we can win it again.
Thank you for taking action,
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rBST AND THE DRUG APPROVAL PROCESS
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
Chairman : The Honourable Leonard J. Gustafson
Deputy Chairman : The Honourable Eugene F. Whelan, P.C., O.C.
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On 5 May 1998, the Senate of Canada unanimously passed a motion urging the government to defer licensing recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) for at least one year and thereafter until the long-term risks to public health are known.
Recombinant bovine somatotropin is a non-therapeutic drug, produced by genetic engineering, which can increase milk production in dairy cattle. For more than a decade, the long-term effect of rBST on animals and on people has been the subject of controversy. In 1990, Health Canada received a submission from a manufacturer that wanted to market rBST in Canada. When the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry began its public hearings on 4 June 1998, Health Canada had not completed its review of rBST. During its study of the effects of rBST on people and on animals, the Committee heard from Monsanto Canada; Health Canada scientists and officials; scientists from other countries; dairy producers and processors; and public interest groups. As well, more than 400 Canadians wrote to the Committee.
The Committee received testimony about Canada’s drug approval process, both generally and with respect to rBST. In the opinion of some witnesses, Monsanto’s rBST submission failed to meet the standard data requirements for any new drug submission. Moreover, in the opinion of Health Canada drug evaluators in the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, not all animal and human safety aspects were adequately addressed in the department’s evaluation of the submission.
On 14 January 1999, Health Canada announced that it will not approve rBST for sale in Canada, citing the findings of two expert advisory panels formed to evaluate rBST. At the same time, Monsanto announced that it intends to continue to seek approval of the drug. Believing that additional studies are needed, the Committee recommends that no approval for rBST be granted in future until long-term studies on human health are submitted and reviewed. It also recommends that Health Canada ask for a previously-requested study on animal safety and efficacy.
Many witnesses told the Committee of their concerns about the drug approval process in general. They testified that some Canadians believe that Health Canada views industry, rather than the Canadian public, as the department’s client. Viewing these concerns as serious, the Committee makes a number of recommendations to enhance public confidence. The Committee recommends that the Government conduct an evaluation of the drug approval process, and that Health Canada explore means for ongoing consultation with the public. Also recommended is the creation of a mechanism for ongoing public discussion of the economic, trade, social, ethical and other considerations related to drugs and medical devices.
The possibility of industry influence on the drug approval process and conflicts of interest were noted by a number of witnesses, as was the potential impact of decisions made by international organizations. Witnesses questioned the participation by industry in the Bureau of Veterinary Drug’s Joint Program Management Advisory Committee, and industry representation at the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives. The Committee believes that Canadians must be assured that decisions about drug approvals are made domestically. It recommends that Health Canada evaluators make these decisions, while acknowledging that the opinions of external advisory panels and international bodies can complement evaluators’ reviews. To reinforce confidence in the drug approval process, the Committee also recommends full adherence to Health Canada’s conflict of interest guidelines in the appointment of members to external panels and as Canadian representatives on international bodies.
The Committee also heard testimony about management problems in the department and suggestions of pressure, coercion, document theft and gag orders. Feeling that the best decisions are made in an atmosphere of trust, the Committee recommends that Health Canada officials appear before the Committee to provide information about steps they have taken to resolve the problems.
Finally, the Committee experienced difficulties in receiving information from Health Canada. Believing that parliamentary committees require complete information to carry out their responsibility to Canadians, the Committee recommends that federal departments fulfill information requests from committees completely and as expeditiously as possible, with proprietary information presented to committees in camera.
The Committee intends to hold additional hearings to receive testimony from the expert advisory panels which evaluated rBST and others who have expressed ongoing concerns.
- The Committee recommends that Health Canada ensure full adherence to its conflict of interest guidelines and, in cases of perceived conflict of interest, publicly declare its reasons for accepting the appointment of any individuals for whom a conflict is perceived. (page 10).
- The Committee recommends that decisions about the safety of drugs for humans, and the safety and efficacy of drugs for animals, be left with Health Canada evaluators (page 11).
- The Committee, having heard the suggestion of some witnesses, recommends that the government conduct an evaluation of Health Canada’s drug approval process to ensure that it fully safeguards human and animal health and safety. This evaluation should be undertaken by independent experts, either in conjunction with any follow-up activities of the Auditor General of Canada regarding the Health Protection Branch or subject to review by the Auditor General (page 13).
- The Committee recommends that no Notice of Compliance be issued for rBST until the manufacturer submits the long-term studies identified by Health Canada’s rBST internal review team as data missing from its submission and until a review of those studies more precisely determines any risks to human safety (page 17).
- The Committee recommends that Health Canada ask that the study requested by the evaluators of the former Central Nervous System/Endocrine/Antiparasitic Division be conducted and submitted in order to meet the requirement of section C.08.004.(2) of the Food and Drug Regulations (page 18).
- The Committee recommends that once human and animal health and safety are assured, the government establish an ongoing mechanism that would stimulate public discussion on economic, trade, social, ethical and other considerations related to drugs and medical devices that are being considered by Health Canada. This mechanism should involve the Canadian Food Inspection Agency where relevant, and may be one outcome of the Health Protection Branch’s Transition initiative (page 21).
- The Committee recommends that Health Canada officials appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry no later than June 1999 to provide information about the initiatives undertaken to resolve the management problems identified in this report (page 22).
- The Committee recommends that any federal government department asked for information by a parliamentary committee fulfill that request completely and as expeditiously as possible. Information that the department believes to be proprietary should be presented to committees in camera, with a rationale for maintaining confidentiality (page 24).
- The Committee recommends that Health Canada, and in particular the Health Protection Branch, explore means by which ongoing consultation with the public, and information dissemination to it, can continue following the Transition initiative (page 24).