The issue is complicated and carries financial implications for Canada’s pig producers. They cannot use Carbadox, whereas their competitors in the US and Mexico can.
Canada prohibited the antibiotics from feed in 2001, because the antibiotics can break down into metabolites that cause cancer. Residues, however, continued to show up in Canadian-produced pork. That prompted Health Canada
to adopt tighter restrictions in the spring of 2004, in effect barring farmers from importing these antibiotics for their own on-farm use.
Health Canada is now considering even tighter restrictions, including a ban on importing pork from any pigs that have been fed rations containing Carbadox.
Joy Philippi, president of the US National Pork Producers Council
(NPPC), is complaining that this would be an unfair trade restriction because it’s now allowed under the WTO
standards. She also says the US pork industry might take action under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Canadian pork industry has spent millions dealing with US trade complaints and actions, so the Canadian Pork Council
is looking for solutions that keep that from happening.
If the US needs Carbadox for economic viability, then the ban in Canada obviously has economic implications in a free-trade zone.
In the European Union, Carbadox has been forbidden at any level.