Industrial meat in Canada, growth promoters and the struggle over international food standards


  • Elizabeth Ann Smythe Concordia University College of Alberta



Meat production, growth promoters, drugs, international trade, standards, Codex Alimentarius


This article focuses on differing national regulations and standards regarding how meat for human consumption is produced and what is permissible in that production process. Attempts to harmonize these regulations at the global level to facilitate international trade have proven to be challenging. Such harmonization of regulations is especially important to countries exporting meat, such as Canada. The conflict at the global level reflects a range of differing trade interests and values about what meat is and how it should be produced. One area of disagreement is over the extent to which methods of growth promotion in animals using technology, particularly drugs, is acceptable and safe in terms of human consumption. Canada has taken the position that they are acceptable and safe.   Using two case studies of regulations related to the most recent set of beta agonist  drugs, ractopamine and zilpatrol, fed to livestock  to promote growth, I  examine the underlying sources of these conflicts and the extent to which they reflect the interests of various actors and the forms of power they may employ to try to shape global standards at the Codex Alimentarius and the view of what is acceptable meat.





How to Cite

Smythe, E. A. (2024). Industrial meat in Canada, growth promoters and the struggle over international food standards. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 11(1), 111–130.