“A Threat to Organics is a Threat to You”

Published September 9, 2022 The Globe and Mail

“For the last year, the organic sector, civil society, farmers unions and Canadian citizens have been expressing critical concerns regarding imminent proposals from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to exempt many new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from regulation.”

Read the full Globe and Mail article here.

September 19, 2022 Update via Radio Canada:

Translation of the Radio Canada article

12:58 p.m. | Updated at 1:41 p.m.

The Trudeau government seems to have changed its tune and is now asking the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to maintain the mandatory declaration of new generations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) arriving on the market. The Government of Quebec and several players in the agricultural world feared the disappearance of organic products.

The organic sector will be reassured, said Minister responsible for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Marie-Claude Bibeau, in an interview on the Midi Info program.

She announced high-level directives to guarantee the traceability of these new GMO seeds. A product cannot be guaranteed organic if it contains GMOs.

The new Canadian regulations on GMOs have been causing controversy since last week, when Radio-Canada revealed that the agrochemical lobby would have participated in its development.

Documents from the CFIA have sown doubt among the interest groups that received them, in particular the organization Vigilance OGM. The name of Jennifer Hubert, the general manager of the CropLife Canada lobby which defends the interests of companies that market seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and fertilizers appears in the properties of the Word file on which the reform project is presented.

The challenge of the new Canadian regulations is to oversee the development of new approaches in the development of GMOs and their traceability. Among the new ways of creating genetically modified organisms, the so-called intragenic technology differs from traditional GMOs, because it does not incorporate any genes outside the seed.

The reform project proposed by the CFIA aims to exempt the seed industry from its obligation to declare and have certain genetically modified plants evaluated.

The seed and pesticide industry had called for such changes. Radio-Canada revealed on Monday that a federal document summarizing the reform project had in its metadata the name of a general manager of an agrochemical lobby as the author.

A little later the same day, Minister Bibeau assured that she still had confidence in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

This is of great concern to the organic sector, whose certification excludes the presence of GMOs in its products.

The question of traceability remains paramount for the organic farming sector, and the reform project, as it was proposed, could harm the organic sector – even if it would greatly facilitate the task of the agrochemical industry and seed production.

Industry players are wondering why the CFIA is consulting the agrochemical industry upstream when developing its new regulations. At the same time, they question the reasons why the industry would be exempted from declaring products which nevertheless contain GMOs.

Radio Canada