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Do you have a question about how food crops are grown or how your food is produced?

If so, send us your question(s). There are over 80 faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources here at the University of Saskatchewan who we will go ask and seek out an answer for you on your behalf. If our faculty just don’t know, we will try our best to reach out to other networks to find you an answer.

It might take some time to get a response back to you, but we will do our best to get you an answer. Your question and answer will be posted on SAIFood, however, we will keep your name and anonymous.

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Q & A’s

I have been told that dairy cattle in the USA can be given hormones to increase their daily milk that these hormones are not allowed in Canada. True or false? What is the situation in European countries?

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The hormone that you refer to is known as rBST or recombinant bovine somatotrophin. This hormone is regularly produced by a cow’s pituitary gland. The pharmaceutical drug version has been used in dairy cows in the USA since it was approved for use in 1994. While use is common in the American dairy industry, its use is typically confined to use in older dairy cows that are approaching the end of their production cycle to boost milk production.

Upon gaining approval for use in the USA, developer Monsanto applied to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the late 1990s to receive approval for use of the drug in Canada. Following their review, the CFIA concluded that there was no risk to humans from the use of rBST in dairy cattle, but they did have some animal welfare concerns and so the drug was not granted approval for use in Canada.

Parallel the review of by the CFIA, the drug was also undergoing review in Europe. Their ruling came about the same time as Canada’s and also rejected approval.

Other countries have approved use, such as Mexico, Brazil and India.