Drugs in Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a growing commercial enterprise in Canada on both east and west coasts, and also in the inland waters. The use of Canadian approved veterinary drugs in food-producing aquatic animals is essential to reducing the risk to public and animal health.

Sale and Use of Drugs in Aquaculture (Food-producing Aquatic Animals)

  • In Canada, specific drugs are authorized for sale for food producing aquatic animals. These drugs are identified by the Drug Identification Number (DIN) on the label.
  • It is illegal in Canada for a manufacturer to offer for sale, expose for sale, have in possession for sale and distribute, whether or not the distribution is made for consideration, any drug which has not complied with the Food and Drug Regulations (e.g. no DIN).
  • The Food and Drug Regulations (Section C.08.010 and C.08.011, Emergency Drug Release) allows a manufacturer to sell an unapproved new drug (unlicensed drug) which does not have a DIN, to a licensed veterinary practitioner for the treatment of an "emergency" in a patient or group of patients (population) in the context of a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship (VCPR). Authorization for such a sale must be given by Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate.
  • Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate evaluates and monitors the safety, quality and effectiveness of veterinary drugs for human, animal and food safety.
  • To promote the prudent use of drugs in food-producing animals, in order to minimize the risks of this practice to public health, animal safety and the environment, please refer to Health Canada's Policy on Extra Label Drug Use (ELDU) in Food Producing Animals.

Definition of a Drug

According to the Food and Drugs Act, a "Drug" includes any substance or mixture of substances manufacturered, sold or represented for use in:

  1. the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms in human being or animals,
  2. restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human being or animal, or
  3. disinfection in premises in which food is manufacturered, prepared or kept.

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