The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has decided to exempt many new gene-edited GM seeds from government regulation. Combined with the similar May 2022 decision from the Minister of Health, this decision means that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will not check any safety data from product developers and that companies can put these GMOs on the market without informing the government or public. Read and share the press release from CBAN, the National Farmers Union, SaskOrganics, and Vigilance OGM.
Specifically: Gene edited seeds and foods from plants that have no foreign DNA (no DNA from other species) are now exempt from Part V of the Seeds Regulations and Novel Food Regulations.
This change is the most serious development in the short history of GMOs. It is the logical extension of regulation and policies that already gave tremendous power to biotechnology companies, at the expense of safety and transparency.
Canada is in the middle of a global fight over the future of our food. This fight just got clearer. The biggest seed and pesticide companies in the world are also the same companies that dominate the GMO market. The federal government has just handed these companies control over the food system.
We reject this corporate control.
We will fight back against this corporate control of our food and seeds. We will continue to protect our environment against the risks of GMOs and to work in solidarity with farmers to fight back against corporate control over farming.
These changes made by the federal government are not set in stone – they are changes to regulatory guidance documents that can be edited at any time. These changes have not yet been integrated into regulation. We can still stop this corporate self-regulation.
This decision to remove choice is the logical extension of a government policy against mandatory labelling, that allowed for unlabeled GMOs in the food system. In the face of this policy, farmers and companies developed systems to deliver non-GM choices to consumers, including the prohibition on GMOs in organics. These systems and choices are now at risk and, over time, will be destroyed.
This decision to remove independent science assessment from these GMOs is also the logical extension of a policy that already relied on corporate science. All the genetically engineered foods that we currently eat have been approved by regulators at Health Canada and the CFIA based on corporately generated and owned data. Previously, the departments assessed the confidential science submitted by companies. Now companies do not need to submit any safety data for independent government assessment. This means that companies are not required to produce any science on the safety of these GMOs.
Regulation has been handed over to product developers.
We reject corporate control over food and seeds. In Canada and around the world, consumers and farmers continue to fight for the future of food and farming that supports community, biodiversity and climate resilience. Join the global movement for food sovereignty and environmental justice. Together, we are stronger.