April 12, 2016 · 9:15 AM
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Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say the agreement will allow for the introduction of Bovine Growth Hormone to increase milk input from dairy cows. / Paul J. Henderson/FILE

Opponents to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal say the local threat isn't just to the economics of the dairy industry but also to what gets allowed into the milk we drink.

The TPP is a hot topic in national politics, and here in Chilliwack, with dairy farms making up about half of the $360 million in local gross farm receipts annually, people are paying attention.

This Thursday, former Health Canada senior scientist and whistleblower Dr. Shiv Chopra speaks in Chilliwack about his opposition to the TPP and its threat to public health and food safety.

Chopra's talk at the Yarrow Community School is part of a Canada-wide tour to raise awareness about the TPP.

The agreement, he says, forces open Canada’s door for American milk and dairy products from cows that have been injected with synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), an artificial growth hormone developed by Monsanto to increase milk output from dairy cows.

During previous attempts to introduce rBGH milk into milk supplies in Canada, communities mobilized and prevented the inclusion based on public health concerns. Chopra helped lead this fight.

“One of the conditions of the TPP is that U.S. dairy farmers will be entitled to market rBGH-induced milk in Canada without labelling the country of origin,” says John Jones, executive director of Canadian Council on Food Sovereignty & Health. “The U.S. is the only developed country allowing the use of rBGH to increase milk production, and under this agreement, the Canadian public will not know which dairy products they are consuming.”

Speaking to broader issues of concern regarding the TPP at the event will be Paul Finch, treasurer of the B.C. Government Employees Union (BCGEU).

This event, which starts at 7 p.m., is hosted by the Chilliwack Chapter of the Council of Canadians (CoC).

"Being in the heart of BC's farmland and dairyland, we in Chilliwack should know and care about where our food comes from and what's in it," chapter co-founder Suzy Coulter said. "The TPP would make that impossible. And the only time to stop it is now."

Yarrow Community School is 4595 Wilson Rd., Chilliwack. Admission is by donation.

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