Canada’s Free-Trade Agreement Allows Milk with Growth Hormones to Enter the Country

The TPP negotiated a free-trade agreement in Canada that includes milk imports from the U.S.

Bovine growth hormones are illegal in Canada, but are legal in the U.S.

Canadian members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated a free-trade agreement on October 5 allowing the country to choose imports of agriculture and seafood, among other industries from Asia-Pacific markets. However, Canadians are concerned about dairy imports — specifically from the U.S.

Canada agreed to pay an additional 3.25 percent for dairy imports from countries in the Pacific Rim and the U.S. Though the TPP requires Canada to process 85 percent of fluid milk imports before it is sold on shelves, Canadians are worried about growth hormones added in milk from the U.S.

It is illegal to administer the bovine growth hormone rBST to boost milk production in Canada, but it is legal in the U.S. CBC News reports that as of now, there is no inspection system in place and it is unclear whether milk from the U.S. will be separated from Canadian milk or if it will be combined.

“The TPP fully protects Canada's right to maintain and implement measures to ensure food safety for consumers, as well as to protect animal or plant life or health,” a trade department spokesman told CBC News.


Health Canada, the country’s federal health department, banned bovine growth hormones because of animal welfare concerns, not because of health effects. Countries in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have banned the use of growth hormones in cows, too.