Conservative cuts: Toxic anti-inflammatory found in Quebec meat

OTTAWA – NDP Agriculture critic Malcolm Allen (Welland) is alarmed by reports that residue of an anti-inflammatory drug was found in meat destined for sale in Quebec – the drug is so toxic that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has a zero tolerance policy towards it.

“We cannot overstate the serious health consequences that can come from ingesting anti-inflammatory drugs like phenylbutazone,” said Allen. “Despite last year’s E. coli fiasco, the Conservatives are still slashing millions of dollars from the CFIA, instead of investing in proper food safety assessments. Is it going to take another crisis for them to wake up?”

Phenylbutazone, used to treat horses, is not approved for use in beef in Canada. According to the Quebec Order of Veterinarians, residual amounts can cause liver damage and represent “a high risk to human health.” Last year, the Conservatives cut over $50-million from the CFIA’s budget and are set to continue that reckless trend with a projected cut of $111 million over the next three years, and a reduction of 1,200 staff since 2012.

“I am thankful no one has yet been hurt and we must act quickly to find the source of the problem. Canadians need to be able to trust that the products they’re taking home to feed themselves and their families won’t make them ill,” said deputy critic, Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier – Maskinongé). “Conservatives cannot be trusted to manage our food safety system – Canadians deserve better.”