While debate rages in Europe about CETA, the Canada-EU trade agreement, a new report warns that the deal could lower food safety standards.
Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, released by the Council of Canadians and numerous European partners, outlines the regulatory differences between Canada and the EU that could jeopardize European food safety and production standards.
European farmers, who have been struggling as farm prices crash, will have to compete with Canadian imports.
“This would be yet another blow for European farmers who will now be competing Canadian agribusiness with no animal welfare penalties and lower safety standards,” says Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Canada is not the pristine wilderness Europeans imagine with small farms dotting the landscape. Under NAFTA, Canada has shifted towards large-scale agricultural production with half of all food production coming from just five per cent of farms.”
The report details many areas where Canada’s regulations are much weaker than the EU’s, including genetically modified foods, pesticides, food dyes, chlorinated chicken and hormones. Canada is the third-largest producer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the world, and recently approved the sale of genetically modified salmon. It also does not recognize the precautionary principle.
“All over the world, people want more local, sustainable and healthy food, for our economies, our environment and our wellbeing. CETA takes us in the opposite direction – towards factory farms, unsustainable production and questionable safety regulations,” says Sujata Dey, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians and coordinator of the report. “Food is an essential part of our communities and our values. Europeans must know how their regulations could be downgraded before they make a decision on CETA.”
An executive summary of the report is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Greek and Polish, and will soon be available in Spanish. The full report is available in English, French, German and Polish.
Partners on the 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.