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Canadian Dairy Regulation


Cows and Hormones


Are artificial growth hormones to increase cows' milk production allowed in Canada? No. Growth hormones, such as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), have not been approved for sale in Canada.


Bovine somatotropin (bST) is a hormone that occurs naturally in bovines; it regulates growth and lactation. BST has no effect on humans. Recombinant bST (rbST) is a commercially produced version of the natural hormone and it can increase milk production by 10% to 15%. But it may also increase the risk of mastitis and infertility and cause lameness in cows, which is why Health Canada has not approved it. It is important to note that rbST has not been shown to have a negative effect on human health and its use is permitted in other countries (such as the United States), where it is considered safe.




Are there antibiotics in milk? No. Dairy regulations in Canada are very clear. When a cow is receiving medication, the dairy farmer must follow strict protocols.


Farmers place a high emphasis on the safety and health of their cows. Just like humans, cows sometimes get sick, and when they do, they may need medications such as antibiotics. Antibiotics are administered only in case of illness to preserve the health and well-being of the animals.


The cow undergoing antibiotic treatment must be clearly identified. The farmer continues to milk her, but her milk must be discarded for a mandatory withdrawal period until her system has cleared the medication. Very strict penalties apply if regulations are not met.