Safety of Canada's Food

The Issue

To ensure the safety of food produced in Canada from animals, Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) is responsible for a comprehensive scientific review of veterinary drugs before they are approved for sale in this country.

Veterinary drugs are used, not only to combat disease in food-producing animals, but also to promote growth and maintain health.

One of VDD's many functions is to determine the level of drugs below which there will not be any adverse health effects to humans. Internationally recognized procedures are used to assess the safety of these drugs.

Every substance, whether a vitamin or a drug, whether natural or synthetic, is toxic at certain levels - the dose can make it poison. This is why human or veterinary drugs are beneficial at recommended dosages and can be harmful if these levels are exceeded.

How does VDD make informed decisions about the safety of food from animals treated with veterinary drugs?

Scientific debate is welcomed and encouraged. Science is complex - the generation of knowledge has profound value. In its application, it has the potential to inform and refine policies, regulations and practices.

As in any other discipline, scientists come from a variety of training, backgrounds and expertise. It is not surprising then, that their ideas and opinions can be sometimes varied.

Decisions are made that protect the public by applying the best interpretation of available scientific evidence. Consultation, scientific review and study, peer review, and inspection and compliance procedures are all part of this decision-making process.

Working in partnership to ensure the health and safety of Canadians

VDD has a key role to play in ensuring the safety of food from animals treated with veterinary drugs. Many other federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial governments, and stakeholders are also involved to ensure the safety of food produced from animals and sold in Canada.

VDD works in partnership with these and other interested parties. Our industry stakeholders, producers and farmers also want to ensure the highest quality of our food.

It is important to note that Canadians are among the healthiest people in the world. We live - on average - longer than in many other industrialized nations. This fact, in itself, speaks for the safety of our food system.

How can I keep up-to-date on this issue?

As additional information becomes available, VDD will continue to post updates on our Web site.

How can I get involved?

VDD is working to make public participation part of policy development related to veterinary drugs. If you would like to comment or participate, please use the contact us icon on our Web site homepage.

Health Canada contact information:

Veterinary Drugs Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch

Health Canada
Holland Cross Complex
Ground Floor
14 - 11 Holland Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9
Address Locator - 3000A

General Information Number :
Tel : (613) 954-5687
Fax : (613) 957-3861

Web site:

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