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Our CETA & food safety report in Dutch and Austrian media

Earlier this week, The Council of Canadians released a new report on how the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would impact food safety standards in Europe.

An executive summary of the report is available in Dutch and German, as well as in English, French, Greek and Polish, and soon in Spanish. The full report is available in English, French, German and Polish.

Today, an op-ed in the Dutch newspaper de Volksrant (which has a circulation of 250,000 readers) highlights, “Deze week komt een Nederlandse versie uit van een onderzoek van de Canadese NGO Council of Canadians, waaruit blijkt dat de hogere standaarden die onze boeren hanteren onder druk staan door CETA. Onze biologische en kleinschalige boeren krijgen concurrentie van grote Canadese agribusinesses die aan lagere standaarden voor voedselveiligheid en dierenwelzijn moeten voldoen: slechter vlees tegen lagere prijzen dus.”

That translates to say: “This week, a Dutch version of a study by the Canadian NGO Council of Canadians, showing that the higher standards that apply to our farmers are under pressure from CETA. Our organic and small-scale farmers would face competition from large Canadian agribusinesses to meet lower standards for food safety and animal welfare poorer meat at lower prices.”

And the Vienna-based newspaper Wiener Zeitung (which has 24,000 readers) has reported, “Mehrere NGOs, darunter Global 2000 und ÖBV Via Campesina Österreich, verwiesen auf einen am Montag veröffentlichten Report der kanadischen NGO Council of Canadians, in dem die Kanadier vor den umwelt- und gesundheitsschädlichen kanadischen Lebensmitteln warnen. Auf den selben Report verwies auch Team-Stronach-Klubobmann Robert Lugar und verlangte, diesen ‘Angriff auf die Gesundheit und Umwelt der Österreicher’ mit allen Mitteln zu verhindern.”

That translates as: “Several NGOs, including Global 2000 and ÖBV Via Campesina Austria, referring to a report published on Monday by the Canadian NGO Council of Canadians, which warns against the adverse environment and health of Canadian food. In the same report also noted Team Stronach club chairman Robert Lugar and demanded to prevent this ‘attack on the health and environment of the Austrians’ by all means.”

In various campaign blogs, the Council of Canadians has highlighted:


Global Affairs has boasted, “When CETA comes into force, almost 96 percent of EU tariffs lines for fish and seafood products will be duty-free. Seven years later, 100 percent of these tariff lines will be duty-free, making these world-class products more competitive and creating the conditions for increased sales.” Tariff rates on salmon, which now range up to 15 per cent, will be eliminated under CETA, meaning more Canadian salmon will be sold in Europe. This is significant because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has just approved a genetically modified salmon safe for human consumption.


In March 2015, the CFIA also gave permission to a British Columbia-based company to grow and sell a genetically modified apple in Canada. The apple has been genetically modified so that it does not brown when cut or bruised. This is notable because under CETA more Canadian apples will be heading to Europe. Under the deal, the 9 per cent EU seasonal tariff on Canadian apples will be reduced to 0 per cent.


There is also the concern that the United States-European Union Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could mean that slaughtered chickens dipped in a bleaching solution (to kill germs and bacteria) could be exported by the US to Europe. While chicken is excluded from CETA, Health Canada regulations allow both chicken and beef to be washed and processed with chlorinated water. If ratified, CETA would give Canada duty-free access to Europe for processed beef, pork and bison products.

Notably, CETA establishes a mechanism in which Canada and the European Union can “discuss and attempt to prevent or resolve” non-tariff barriers relating to agricultural exports. This provision could be used by Canadian corporations to oppose any bans or legislation that would prevent genetically modified fish, GMO apples, and chlorinated beef from being imported into Europe.

Partners on this food safety report include War on Want (UK), Transnational Institute (Netherlands), Les Amis de la terre (France), ATTAC-Austria, Global 2000 (Austria), Via Campesina (Austria), IGO(Poland), Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (Germany), Nature Friends (Greece), Insitute for Agricultural Trade Policy (Europe), Powershift (Germany), and ATTAC-Spain.