I am one of the cowshare people from Vancouver. If you remember, I was the one who asked if we can use Codex Alimentarius to our advantage. I did quite a bit of digging around since then, and to tell you the truth, I found much of the worry and concern about Codex to be over-blown, to the point of fear-mongering. Specifically, here are a few issues I found:
1. If you remember, much was made about “Codex coming into effect January 1, 2010” and there was MUCH concern about it. Many people heard that date and panicked. But of course, that date came and went with nothing to show for all the hype. However, with my research, there was NOTHING to back up this claim of January 1st, 2010, except the desire of the original Codex creators to have the Codex in place by the end of 2009. That desire was expressed somewhere around 50-60 years ago. It turns out, the Codex has already been in place since January 1, 1995, when Canada officially joined the WTO, and ratified the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (SPS). The SPS gave “teeth” to the Codex by including it as one option (although, the easiest option) for a State to implement acceptable international safety practices for internationally traded goods.
2. As far as I can see, the Codex has many “safety practice” regulations in place to handle what they term as “raw milk”. The Codex regulations have very clear instructions on how to handle raw milk for consumption (best practice for temperature, transportation, etc.). So clearly, from the point of view of the Codex, WTO and International Agreements, “raw milk” is permitted, and therefore should be allowed in Canada. Internationally, it is important to realize that New Zealand has recently enacted regulations specifically permitting and controlling consumption of raw milk. New Zealand very carefully considered the pros and cons to enacting this legislation, and considered everything from a full-out ban on raw milk to total liberalization. No western democratic nation would do this if it could be seen as being in contravention of its international agreements. They would quickly find themselves in international litigation up to their ears, so I believe this is an indicator of the GENERAL INTERNATIONAL TREND.
One very important caveat: While the Codex goes to great lengths to give regulations for properly handling “raw milk for consumption”, they explicitly chickened-out for some reason by adding a few very weasely words in their regulations. “The scope of this Code does not extend to the production of raw drinking milk.” (CODE OF HYGIENIC PRACTICE FOR MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS CAC/RCP 57-2004). I have found nothing to further regulate “raw drinking milk”, and in my research/opinion represents an intentional hole in the regulations. In these cases, what is specifically not regulated internationally by Private International Law is open for regulation by the “Soveriegn State” as they see fit, unless it violates the principles of International Law by convention or treaty.
Now to continue to the recent passing of Bill C36. I am certainly open to correction, but I believe we won. Maybe you already see this (or maybe I am wrong and you disagree). Here is why:
From: Bill C36:
4. (1) This Act applies to consumer products with the exception of those listed in Schedule 1.
(2) This Act applies to tobacco products as defined in section 2 of the Tobacco Act but only in respect of their ignition propensity.
(3) For greater certainty, this Act does not apply to natural health products as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Natural Health Products Regulations made under the Food and Drugs Act.”
From: SCHEDULE 1
“INCLUDED NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCT SUBSTANCES
A plant or a plant material, an alga, a bacterium, a fungus or a non-human animal material”
…So, as I see it, “raw milk” is certainly a non-human animal material, and therefore C36 does not apply, which means we should be able to drink it as we please, from a Federal point of view.
While I’ve got something to say when it comes to Private International Law and its application, I am not at all well researched on how the Federal/Provincial law applies to us. So I look forward to your thoughts on where we go from here.
Please let me know what you think and especially if you have a differing opinion on what I wrote.
From: Michael Schmidt <email@example.com>
Sent: Sat, December 11, 2010 10:20:10 AM
Subject: Fwd: FW: Bill C-36
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 10:02 PM
Subject: FW: Bill C-36
I just wanted to forward this email I got from our Canadian Senator regarding the emails that have been sent regarding Bill-C36. I was very surprised to get any response, let alone one that seems to agree with us. I think that this is a positive thing and shows that we can do something to have our voice heard. Feel free to pass this email along to whomever is interested. Thanks
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 17:41:48 -0500
Subject: RE: Bill C-36
If you are receiving this letter it is because you have expressed to me your concerns about Bill C-36 through one of the several hundred e-mails I have received over the last month. As you know, on December 1st the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology passed C-36. I strongly opposed the passage without hearing from adequate witnesses, so I requested a recorded vote. The Conservative majority in committee all voted to pass the Bill without amendments, and now it returns to the Senate for third reading. The Conservatives hold a similar majority in the Senate.
We have worked hard to ensure that should Bill C-36 pass, it can only do so when given proper consideration, and only after every informed voice on the matter has been heard. This has not been then case. I have also proposed many amendments, all of which were voted down by the Conservatives voting together.
Many have asked what they can do to address this situation, to which I recommend the following; continue to e-mail your Senators, voicing your concern about how this Bill is being passed. In particular, you should contact the office of those Conservative Senators who seem intent on ramming this Bill through without giving due consideration to its repercussions. They seem totally disinterested in the potential effects of this Bill.
Below you will find a list of those Senators who voted in favour of passing Bill C-36 in committee. The Senate Chamber is meant to be a chamber of independent second thought, occupied by independent minded people. Amendments in the Senate will not cause an election, and thus should happen more frequently.
We are now in debate in the Senate. I spoke on Thursday, and it will continue Monday and Tuesday. Let’s hope for the best.
Joseph A. Day LL.M., P. Eng.
A subsequent email:
I have no objection at all to publishing my email. Please remove any identifying information, though. If you want to have something other than “anonymous”, feel free to sign the email as just “Brad”. People should take responsibility for what they write. I just try to minimize the amount of information sucked up by Google attached to my last name.
Further to what I wrote, I have heard previously (unassociated with milk) that law MAKERS from Canada, New Zealand, and to some extent Australia, confer regularly and deeply with each other to help, and “normalize” each other’s legislation. It seems to be an ongoing two-way dialogue of consultation between the similar Commonwealth countries. Kind of like “Hey, what laws have you enacted lately? We’re trying to do this…what do you think??…”
It would be interesting to see if something is happening in the background to “normalize” a raw milk legislation similar to New Zealand.
All the best,