On February 11th, The Ontario Farmer reported that Health Canada is inviting comments on whether regulations regarding raw milk ought to be made or changed. The story quotes Barfblog blogger Dr. Doug Powell on the risks and dangers posed to consumers by raw milk. It then goes on to talk about how both Health Canada and the FDA are inviting comments on raw milk to help them improve factors such as assumptions, modeling techniques, data, and transparency of documentation. The story, however, only provides links to risk assessments on soft ripened cheese, both from the FDA. And it states that the comment period opens February 11, 2013 for 75 days.
Sounds good on the surface. Finally, it would appear, Canada’s (and America’s) health policy makers are taking notice of the fact that regulations regarding raw milk might be out of sync with public awareness when it comes to matters of raw milk safety and health. One could imagine from reading that story that maybe now the governments are willing to listen to what people think. Wouldn’t that be nice?
And yet, where exactly does one make such comments? The Ontario Farmer story gives no information on that crucial detail. The Health Canada website doesn’t offer any clues. Putting “raw milk comment” into the search box there doesn’t lead to any likely looking pages. A phone call to Health Canada’s switchboard is answered by someone who doesn’t have anything like that in her database, and offers a referral to the CFIA’s “Office of Food Safety”. But a call to Health Canada’s media relations office nets a promise to have someone call back. That was 9:30 am Feb 13th, two days after the comment period opened. We’ll see how long it takes them to get back to us, and what they have to say when they do.
There is a similar story running on Farms.com, dated Feb. 12th. That story provides the following contact information: “U.S citizens can participate in the public comment period by submitting comments electronically – through the docket FDA-2012-N-1182 on regulations.gov. Canadian citizens can find out more information through Government of Canada website.” The Government of Canada website listed seems to provide only information on raw milk, but no obvious means or links to comment.