New Canadian Rules Address Anti-Microbial Resistance

From now on, only drugs that Health Canada has determined do not pose a risk to human health or food safety may be imported by livestock owners, and then only in limited quantities.

Health Canada on Nov. 14 announced two new rules have taken effect to enhance the public's protection from antimicrobial-resistant infections, noting that they are becoming more frequent and are increasingly difficult to treat. Although antimicrobial resistance can occur naturally, inappropriate use of antimicrobials in health care, animal health, food production, and sanitation increases the emergence and spread of resistance.

Antimicrobial drugs that are important to human health and used in food-producing animals may no longer be imported into Canada under the Own Use Importation policy. From now on, only drugs that Health Canada has determined do not pose a risk to human health or food safety may be imported by livestock owners, and then only in limited quantities.

Second, a new program that will allow access to low-risk veterinary health products, such as vitamin and mineral supplements, for companion and food-producing animals has been put in place to allow manufacturers to import and sell those products. Veterinary health products that pose a low risk to human health when used in food-producing animals and can be used to keep animals healthy may reduce the need for antimicrobials, according to the agency.

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