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Notice to industry: Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to launch a pilot project to allow veterinary health products in livestock feed

2021-01-11

Improving access to animal health and wellness products for use in livestock

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC) are collaborating on a pilot project to allow livestock feeds to include veterinary health products (VHPs), such as organic acids and essential oils. VHPs are used to maintain or promote the health and wellness of companion and food-producing animals. VHPs are not for use to treat, prevent or cure a disease or condition. This pilot project will initially include a limited group of VHPs that present a low risk to animals, food and the feed supply.

If the pilot is successful, the CFIA and HC intend to expand the scope of eligible VHPs that may be added to livestock feed, supported by technical guidance.

Applications for participation in the pilot project will be accepted in February 2021.

Background

Changes to the Food and Drug Regulations implemented in 2017 allowed VHPs to be imported and sold in Canada provided that companies notify Health Canada 30 days prior to the sale of a VHP. Since the launch of Health Canada's VHP Notification Program, more than 2300 VHPs have been issued notification numbers, allowing them to be sold for use in companion and food-producing animals in Canada. However, currently the Feeds Regulations do not allow VHPs in livestock feed.

Livestock producers and the feed industry have expressed a strong interest in allowing VHPs in livestock feed to help maintain animal health and wellness and to potentially reduce the use of antimicrobials and other conventional drugs.

The CFIA is planning to propose amendments to the Feeds Regulations that would put in place new conditions under which VHPs may be incorporated into feed for food-producing animals. This pilot is a temporary measure and will be used to inform future regulatory amendments and implementation.

Product eligibility

This pilot will consider VHPs that meet the following criteria:

Pilot process

Interested companies will be able to submit their products for eligibility verification by HC and the CFIA in February 2021, using a pre-screening form. Approximately 25 eligible VHPs will be accepted into the pilot at this time, with a maximum of 2 products per company.

If HC and the CFIA consider that a product meets the criteria, the company will be invited to submit a notification form through HC's VHP Notification Program. Products that are successful will receive a VHP notification number. The CFIA will publish a list of notified products on its website, and at that point the products may be sold for use in livestock feed, starting in approximately June 2021.

Next steps

Detailed information, along with the pre-screening form, will be made available in January 2021. Companies are encouraged to learn more about the existing requirements for VHPs. All products must comply with these rules. If you have any questions, contact HC's Veterinary Drugs Directorate by email at vhp-psa@hc-sc.gc.ca with "VHP in feed pilot" in the subject line.

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