Federal government allows biotech free reign in Canadian Food System, denies transparency to farmers and food companies
May 3, 2023 -Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has approved changes to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulatory guidance that, along with similar changes permitted by the Minister of Health in May of 2022, allow product developers to assess the safety of their own genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) seeds and foods without government oversight.
“This is a shocking abdication of responsibility by our regulators. The government has fully turned GM food safety over to companies using confidential, privately-owned science,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), “Canadians should be aware that the government will no longer be assessing the safety of many new genetically modified foods and seeds. This decision asks Canadian farmers and consumers to trust unseen corporate science. We need independent science, not corporate self-regulation.”
The exemptions to regulation apply to gene edited seeds that have no foreign DNA and to foods produced from these plants. These genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will not go through any government approval process at Health Canada or the CFIA, but can be released onto the market by companies without any safety data submitted to the government. These GMOs can also be released without notifying the government or public.
The result will be unknown GM foods and seeds on the market that have not be subject to any independent safety assessment.