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Evidence of meeting #42 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was products.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Brian Evans  Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Paul Mayers  Associate Vice-President, Programs, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Cameron Prince  Vice-President, Operations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Martine Dubuc  Vice-President, Science, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

We will call the meeting to order.

We have witnesses here from the CFIA.

Welcome, Mr. Mayers, Dr. Evans, Mr. Prince, and Ms. Dubuc. I imagine you have some opening remarks.

Dr. Evans.

8:45 a.m.

Dr. Brian Evans Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Thank you very much.

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and honourable members. It's a pleasure to be with you this morning as we continue to collectively advance Canada's interests in food safety.

My name is Brian Evans. I am the chief food safety officer and chief veterinary officer for Canada with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

With regard to the audit that looked at certain aspects of the management of imported foods, I would like to provide you with an overview and some context.

The audit focused solely on the years of 2005 to 2008. It did not examine front-line inspection activities, as this was not within the scope of this particular audit. The audit assessed the management framework only.

Because audits focus on areas where improvements might be made, it would be tempting for people outside of the audit community to think that the reports reflect on the integrity or quality of the entire program. This is rarely the case, and certainly not the case in this audit.

Food safety is clearly the top priority of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

To provide Canadians with the protection they expect and deserve, we are continuing to look for ways to improve our system. To this end, the CFIA published the findings of our audit on imported food safety.

In response to the interest generated by this report, I want to assure this committee and all Canadians that all food sold in Canada, whether domestic or imported, must comply with the Food and Drugs Act and regulations, and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and regulations.

Simply put, the obligation to provide safe food is no different for food importers than it is for domestic food producers. Under these acts, importers have a responsibility to demonstrate that their food products meet the same high safety standards that Canada has established for domestic food producers. The playing field is level in terms of a food producer's or a food importer’s obligation to sell or distribute safe food.

I was heartened to see in a recent Globe and Mail and Nanos report that a significant percentage of Canadians believe that there is a greater frequency of inspection for imported food than there was 10 years ago. That speaks of a confidence in our inspection regime that I believe is well placed. Agency staff work hard each and every day to earn and maintain that trust.

The audit examined our activities around imported foods from 2005 to 2008. Since that time, in response to the rapid globalization of the food supply, the CFIA has taken decisive action on how we manage this food sector.

With regard to the audit itself, it provided us with valuable information that helped us to make improvements in how we conduct our business. Publishing audit results also provides Canadians with a window into the work we do, and we welcome that. It’s important that our work be transparent to Canadians.

We do not wait for either internal or external results from audits before making improvements to our programs and policies on imported foods. The agency has always been hard at work in this area. We will continue to make changes both now and in the future in response to a dynamic and ever-changing risk environment. Nevertheless, we certainly have used the findings of this audit to fine-tune those plans.

Drawing on $223 million in funding from the food safety action plan, which was announced in budget 2008, the CFIA was already independently working on some of the concerns identified in the audit. This included working on the need for better controls over imported products in the non-federally registered sector, which governs foods such as infant formula, cereals, candy, spices, and seasonings.

The government has enhanced the governance structure for food safety. Indeed, I appear before you for the first time in my new role of Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada. The creation of the CFSO role offers us the opportunity to raise the profile of the food safety work being done at the CFIA and the progress being made on the Weatherill recommendations by the agency and its partners.

One of our key partners, the Canada Border Services Agency, works with us to verify that food safety standards are met. The two agencies collaborate on border controls for foods imported into Canada.

Last year, the two agencies worked on 62 border blitzes together. Earlier this spring, the CFIA collaborated with the CBSA in a joint border threat and risk assessment exercise.

In addition, the CFIA conducts its own destination inspections to verify that imported food products comply with the appropriate regulations. We have increased our testing of high-risk foods that are imported into Canada. We carry out targeted surveys in multiple commodities.

The CFIA also conducts monitoring programs to check for various residues and metals in foods. The 2005-06 national chemical residue monitoring report was recently posted to our website. These annual reports show a consistently high level of compliance across all commodities from both imported and domestic producers. For example, the compliance rate for products tested in that specific report range from 96% to 100% compliance for both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 reports.

Another monitoring program, which looked specifically at residues and metals in children’s food, also found very high compliance rates for both domestic and imported food samples. In the 2007-08 children’s food report, 293 domestic products and 543 imported products were tested. The overall compliance rate was 99.7% for domestic products and 98% for imported products.

Mr. Chairman, the CFIA not only tests for food safety post production in imported foods; we also take pre-emptive measures to strengthen food safety before product crosses our borders. For example, the CFIA works with the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, known as the LGMA, to ensure that any leafy green product coming from California to a Canadian market is produced in full compliance with food safety practices of the LGMA and verified through mandatory government audits by USDA-certified inspectors. The agency was recognized for its support and commitment to high levels of government inspection with a Golden Checkmark Award from the LGMA this past May.

In another example of enhanced pre-border food safety, the agency has tightened its controls on meat imported from the United States. Importers will no longer receive advance notice of whether or not their shipment will require a CFIA inspection.

Mr. Chairman, when food is non-compliant, the CFIA responds by preventing the product from entering Canada or initiating a recall of the product. Additionally, the CFIA may also step up the frequency of inspection of certain importers or suppliers known to have been non-compliant in the past.

In a world of global supply chains for ingredients, it is clear that the achievement of effective import food safety controls requires that efforts begin before and go beyond border inspection. To this end, Canada collaborates very closely with other major food importing and exporting countries, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union. We share information about audits, risk assessments, recalls, and compliance in other countries.

On the policy front, the CFIA is on track to revise and update its import control policy early in 2011. In the meantime, we have established an integrated approach to forecast and prioritize annual inspection, sampling, and testing activities. This was done based on international information sharing and current best practices. The approach will help us to target our efforts where the risks are greater.

In addition, the CFIA recently launched consultations on an importer licensing approach that will contribute to stronger supply chain controls. Licence suspension is one enforcement action the agency is considering for importers who sell and distribute unsafe food products.

To support the field level, we are currently updating and modernizing procedural manuals, inspection tasks, training and lab methods. The agency's recent move away from a traditional commodity-specific management approach to a more integrated food business line will address resource pressures and ever-changing risks and priorities.

To speak further about our inspection regime, as part of the government response to the Weatherill report the Government of Canada conducted a comprehensive review of the design and delivery of the compliance verification system. Reports of the review are referenced in the fall 2010 progress report on food safety. The progress report was released publicly on October 21, 2010, and was published on the CFIA website with a link from the food safety portal.

Inspection staff and union representatives, who formed part of the review team, indicated that the CVS represents an improvement over past inspection approaches. Participants also recognized that the system continues to evolve, and made recommendations for improvement. The agency has taken those recommendations into account and is working to address them.

Mr. Chairman, armed with better information, improved methods, and an understanding of where potential gaps may surface, the agency will continue to promote safe food for Canadian consumption. We have a robust and effective food safety system in this country. Third-party and internal audits provide the government with opportunities to continually improve on those systems. They also provide Canadians with a window into the efficacy of our programs and services. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate transparency in the work that we do.

Thank you Mr. Chairman. We'll certainly be happy to take any questions.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

That's it for opening comments.

We'll move into questions.

Before I do that, I would just remind members of the following:

The obligation of a witness to answer all questions put by the committee must be balanced against the role that public servants play in providing confidential advice to their Ministers. The role of the public servant has traditionally been viewed in relation to the implementation and administration of government policy, rather than the determination of what that policy should be. Consequently, public servants have been excused from commenting on the policy decisions made by the government

Mr. Eyking, you have seven minutes.

8:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Thank you, Chair.

I thank the CFIA for coming in today.

Canadians like to be able to eat healthy and fresh and local food as much as they can, but they know they have to get some from other parts of the world, because we can't always produce it. I'm glad to hear that you're working with the United States...or being a watchdog, I guess, in terms of products coming in. Many times the farmers here cannot use certain products, and we would hope that the Americans are complying also, that they can't use the same products and vice-versa. Over the last year we've heard, through submissions from farmers, that many times we're at a disadvantage because other countries have practices that we're not allowed to do.

You talked about the leafy vegetables, but let's talk a bit about...because we also talked to a lot of apple growers across the country who are in desperate shape. Cheap apples and cherries are coming in, and orchard growers are saying that there are products used on the fruit that's coming in from other countries that they cannot use, and many times the fruit is dumped here.

The apple growers also said that they used to make a little money on what they call the “drop apples”, or the number two apples, for apple juice. Now they're finding that all these apple juice concentrates are coming in from China, and other countries I guess, and it's taking them out of that market.

They're not saying they're scared of competition, but the reality is this: is the apple juice that we may drink at McDonald's or somewheres, that may be made from concentrate from China, being checked for residue under the same strict regulations you would have for apples grown in this area, for instance?

I'll start off on the apples and produce, and then I have some questions about the meat products.

8:55 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Thank you, honourable member.

Mr. Chairman, I think the honourable member raises a very important point, and that is that the food supply is very much global. Part of the role of the CFIA, obviously, is to ensure that those products that enter Canada must meet the same standards as is required of Canadian producers. To that extent, the residue monitoring programs that we have in place, whether it be for chemicals, for anti-microbials, for heavy metals, or whatever the case may be, apply equally to imported products as to domestic. The design of those chemical residue programs takes into account not just those products that are approved by Health Canada, the pest management risk assessment agency, or others in Canada for use by Canadian producers; it also takes into account at the global level products that may have been approved in other jurisdictions and not approved for Canadian use. Under the chemical residue program applied to those products coming into the country, the same tolerances would apply whether those products were illegally imported into Canada and applied to Canadian domestic production or whether the production was done outside of Canada's borders.

To that extent, Mr. Chairman, I would emphasize very strongly that the work of our laboratory system at CFIA is tied intimately to ensuring that we have the test methods in place to test for not just those products approved in Canada, but products approved outside of Canada's jurisdiction. The complexity around this is in respect to the fact that these test methods must also be adapted to individual tissues: a test method that's used for meat, for example, may not be effective against dairy products, if you use the same test method.

We remain at the forefront, Mr. Chairman, in our alignment with international testing standards to ensure that we can verify that, for imported products, whether they be apples or other types of products, the chemical residue monitoring program applies equally as it would to a product produced in this country.

9 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

In terms of the meats coming into this country, you can see the vacuum-packed meat products in these club stores and in these stores that go in volume, and we've been notified that many times there is no inspection sticker or country-of-origin labelling on them.

Is it true that your inspectors ensure that there's no meat, in the retail, these packages that are coming in...that's inspected? What are we doing on those products that are coming in that they're having due diligence by CFIA?

9 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Thank you for the question, honourable member.

Mr. Chairman, I'll ask Paul Mayers if he could address the issue of the labelling.

9 a.m.

Paul Mayers Associate Vice-President, Programs, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Again, that is an important question. The same holds for meat as Brian described for other foods. They are indeed subject to the same requirements as domestic products, both in terms of the Meat Inspection Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

In the context of products that come into the country in bulk and then are sold--for example, the vacuum-packaged products that the member mentioned--these products are equally subject to the labelling requirements.

We have had it drawn to our attention that occasionally the retailers of these products put them on display without adding the additional labelling. That issue has been drawn to our attention. We have followed up in terms of that issue, because it is indeed the case that they are subject to those labelling requirements.

So in any circumstance where it is drawn to our attention, or through our inspection activities we identify, that these products are not appropriately labelled, then we take action in relation to the products to bring about compliance.

9 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

I don't know if I recall you talking about the apple juice concentrate coming in. You say the concentrate is checked coming in, when it lands here? Or does anybody go to these orchards in China to check what their practices are, or what organic matter they use?

It's really bothering these apple growers how cheaply it's coming in when they feel they're not getting the same guidelines.

9 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Again, thank you, honourable member.

Just to clarify, in the case of apple juice or apple juice concentrate coming from other countries, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, there is a combination of activities undertaken. There is that which we endeavour to do in the country of origin. Over the past several years we have started the deployment of CFIA staff to various posts around the world that provide us a window of inspection opportunity in other countries.

Currently that covers China, with our veterinary inspector based in Beijing, and we have one in Tokyo--

9 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Sorry, but just on that, you would have one of our inspectors there, in China, going to check on how they're producing the crops?

9 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

We have a presence in China. They may not necessarily visit the field directly. We have done audits. We have dispatched Canadian auditors to China in response to verification of activities of how the inspection system is operated in China, to validate the regulatory controls, to regulate how they do their testing programs, to follow up in terms of the certification processes.

As I say, we do have a full-time presence in certain regions of the world currently that collaborate with our partners, whether it's the U.S. or the EU. When they conduct audits they share their information of compliance with us. We adjust our border measures accordingly.

Behind that we also have, as we've talked about, the ability to do residue monitoring at the border or post-entry. If we have a suspicion, if information comes to our attention, either through sources such as INFOSAN or if there is an international recall of a product, we have the authority to stop at the border, to hold and detain and do further testing either at the border or inland, to validate that there is in fact no contamination of the product coming in.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Thank you.

This is just a continuation, Dr. Evans, of where Mark was going.

I'll use the example of Chinese apple juice or apples, it doesn't matter. You said we put inspectors in place at the border to basically make sure that...you know, when it's coming in.

Is the cost of those inspectors totally picked up by Canada? Or is the cost somehow passed on to the importer, whether he's based in Toronto or Vancouver or wherever?

9:05 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Currently, Mr. Chair, the situation is such that the inspection activities carried out by the CFIA are not cost recovered to the importer in that regard. We are proposing at this point in time, on a go-forward basis, a licensing regime that would provide us with a different range of activities and enforcement tools to deal with the issue of how inspections are carried out and who carries out the inspections, but that regime is in development at this time.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Thank you.

Mr. Bellavance, seven minutes.

9:05 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you very much for being here to discuss food safety. It is a crucial issue not only for our committee, but for government in general because it goes to the issue of public health and safety. So, it is always a pleasure to have you before our committee on this subject. Obviously, we have many questions to ask, and seven minutes is not long.

Mr. Evans, you referred to a poll according to which 44% of Canadians believe that there is a greater frequency of inspection for imported food than there was 10 years ago. Obviously, this is a poll, it is strictly a perception. If 44% of Canadians believe that, that means 66% do not. Among that 66%, some people may not have wanted to reply; perhaps others have a different opinion, but, undoubtedly, a perception poll is not a reliable way of finding out whether things are really that much better and that we are actually doing inspections.

We know there is an increasing number of imported food that ends up in our stores. Seventy-nine per cent of imports come mainly from the United States, but also from emerging countries for which there have been some concerns as to food safety. It is not up to me to judge what other people eat, but I can judge what they do when their products come over here. That is something we can speak up about. So, products from Mexico, China, Chile and Thailand, etc., are increasingly appearing on store shelves.

Public perception is one thing. The perception of people in the know is something else. Perception is not the only thing. People in the agricultural sector find that the current inspection system for imported goods is inadequate. On that note, the Union des producteurs agricoles whose annual convention was held last week issued a recommendation to the federal government regarding imported goods.

I have already asked a question in the House on this point specifically, because we knew that there were more and more questions being asked about the CFIA's role and whether it is actually capable of carrying out these inspections. According to the UPA, the ideal solution would be to create a federal agency responsible for the monitoring of imported goods, in order to create reciprocity agreements at the border and to allocate the necessary resources, powers and tools to enforce these requirements. So, that should be the CFIA's mandate, right? However, the UPA believes the work is not currently being done adequately.

Do you believe it is up to the agency to create this type of office, or should this type of process be created within the agency. Or rather, should we create a dedicated agency to deal specifically with the inspection of imported goods?

9:05 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Thank you, honourable member.

In answer to the question, I will make two quick points at the outset. The poll referenced was done by Globe and Mail and Nanos. Obviously I take the member's point very clearly. If one looks at those who believe that the level of inspection is the same or has increased, you get into the 70% area; it's not that people believe it has gone down or that we're not doing an adequate job.

If you further pursue the information that was contained, a number of polls conducted by both the government and the private sector continue to show that anywhere from 70% to 85% of Canadians demonstrate a degree of confidence in the food supply in this country and the safety of their food.

I think the member talked very eloquently about the challenge of a global food supply, which is a reality, and the challenges that poses not just for CFIA but for food regulators at a global level. When one talks about the responsibility for safety, that clearly falls within the mandate of CFIA on imported food. I don't think there is a need to duplicate or create alternate administrative mechanisms to assure food safety in imported food. If one wants to talk about issues around economics and dumping, it is outside the purview of CFIA to undertake to do that.

As we indicated, we expect to have in place in early 2011 a revised import control policy to govern the full range of food products imported into Canada--those that are both what we would refer to as regulated, and those that are non-regulated sectors at a domestic level. In addition we carry out activities, and it is very important that when we reference equivalency agreements and reciprocity agreements, we have specific agreements in place with a number of countries around the world.

We have memorandums of understanding with China, and an active Canada-China food safety committee that met just last month. It is co-chaired by our Chinese counterpart and Dr. Richard Arsenault from CFIA in Canada. We have a similar mechanism with Russia. We have active engagement with the United States on a daily basis at a technical level. We now have CFIA staff embedded in Washington working with the FDA on a daily basis.

In the area of fish and seafood, for example, where problems have been identified in the past, we have put in place agreements that raise the level of technical expectation. We carry out audits in those jurisdictions where concerns have been identified, not solely by Canada but by other trading partners as well, to ensure they can achieve the standards that are necessary for them to have the privilege of accessing the Canadian market.

9:10 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

If that is your mandate, Mr. Evans, why are we hearing that far more inspections are carried out on documents than on food?

And why is it that the agricultural sector itself believes this type of entity should be created—they call it an inspection bureau—exclusively for food inspection?

Earlier on, you were referring to vegetables coming from California. We're not talking about China or India. It is not far away. The Americans are our neighbours, but we are aware of the fact that they sometimes use products that are prohibited here.

Mark was referring to apples earlier on. The same thing applies to other foods. There may be pesticides used in the U.S. that cannot be used here, yet the food ends us here anyway.

You referred to the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement: these foods need to be approved by the USDA. First of all, does the term “approved” mean the same thing as “inspected”? What type of inspections do they do?

Is the CFIA informed of these inspections or is it simply approved by them, and they say that it is all right and the food can come through? So that that is a trade issue more than a food safety issue? Aside from this, will the CFIA do its own inspections?

I know full well that if Brussels sprouts enter the country, the agency will not inspect each individual Brussels sprout in each box. However, when there is a shipment that enters the country, people want to be reassured and know that each time products enter the country, an inspection is done according to very strict guidelines. If that is not the case, are we simply taking a look at documents and saying it's okay because the USDA agreed to have it sent to Canada and that we trust them?

9:10 a.m.

Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dr. Brian Evans

Thank you, honourable member.

Perhaps I will share this answer with Paul Mayers.

9:10 a.m.

Associate Vice-President, Programs, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Paul Mayers

Our approach very much takes multiple layers. First, at the international level we work within the Codex Alimentarius so the international standards that govern food safety and foods traded internationally are consistent, and the interpretation of those standards in their application is consistent. Canada is an extremely active member of Codex Alimentarius to assure ourselves that the international standards governing foods moving in trade are indeed robust enough to provide the protection we desire.

Second, we work directly with our trading partners. So to continue the example of the United States that the honourable member mentioned, we work extremely closely with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., the two regulatory agencies in the United States that cover the food supply.

That robust engagement with the U.S. is a day-by-day engagement. It isn't an occasional discussion. We are engaged with our counterparts in the U.S. on a daily basis. As Dr. Evans mentioned, we've embedded staff directly with our counterparts. When we manage events in Canada, we're open to inviting USDA to participate in those events. We share joint events with them.

We audit our U.S. counterparts in terms of their food safety activities, so we have a very clear understanding of their inspection strategies. Dependent on the specific commodity, some products that come to Canada from the United States come with formal certification on the part of the U.S. in terms of their oversight; other products come into the country as a result of our understanding of the inspection oversight that's employed in the U.S. and our confidence in our trading partner in terms of the quality of that oversight.

Then the third layer of coverage is, of course, the work we do here in terms of inspecting products that enter Canada at destination. As Dr. Evans has overviewed, we conduct a robust program of inspection, sampling, and testing. The national chemical residue monitoring program, as just one example, undertakes chemical testing of not just domestic product but imported product as well.

That information allows us to apply targeted strategies to any areas where problems have been identified. Dr. Evans spoke to the border blitzes we've undertaken with the CBSA, those targeted actions that allow us to focus on any commodity where we've seen problems in the past. We apply an approach whereby we take a representative sampling in terms of our inspection approach, but if we identify a problem, that product moves to 100% inspection until the exporter can again demonstrate he has his system in control, and we can move back to a more representative approach.

So we apply a comprehensive and robust approach to imports, which allows us to have confidence that we hold imports to the same standard as we hold domestic products.

Thank you.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Thank you.

We'll now move to Mr. Atamanenko for seven minutes.

December 7th, 2010 / 9:15 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Thank you.

Larry, before we start, it's my understanding that if members are in agreement, I can split my time--in this case with Malcolm. Is that okay?

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Oh, yes, that's your choice.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Okay. Thank you. We have our specialist here, so....

Thanks very much for being here. I will try to be quick in order to give you time to answer questions.

My first question deals with the importation of horses for slaughter. It's my understanding that there's a list of drugs, such as phenylbutazone and nitrofurazone, that something like 96% of horses in the United States take--in addition to many others. Any of these drugs, according to the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, are banned in terms of human consumption because of their serious and lethal idiosyncratic effects, adverse effects, on humans. In other words, if they're administered once, there's no way, ever, that animal could enter the food chain.

So if in fact roughly 96% of horses in the United States use banned substances, how can we ensure that these horses do not enter the food chain?

The other thing is that there's a form that folks have to fill out now that asks if any drugs or vaccines have been administered during the shortest time of the following three periods: since January 31, 2010; the last 180 days; or during the time you owned the animal. Theoretically, that could mean somebody could get a horse and have that horse for a day and say that no drugs have been administered.

In terms of the drugs that are permissible with a quarantine, how can we monitor that animals can stay in quarantine for six months? And how can this be manageable in feedlots where they're then not allowed to have any drugs? Would they or would they not be susceptible to diseases such as strangles?

Those are my questions. I have some documents, from the New Holland plant in Pennsylvania, that shows that basically most owners have signed and just put an address and a signature; they haven't checked the boxes. It's really sloppily done. It makes a mockery of the forms that we have given them.

I'll stop there and let Malcolm continue with a couple of questions.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Can we let them answer your questions and move on?