On December 12, 2016 a parliamentary report was released regarding genetically modified animals for human consumption.1 The report is the result of a request made in early 2016 in response to Health Canada’s approval of genetically modified salmon for human consumption—a first in Canada.2
What You Need To Know
- The report is not law nor is it draft law. The federal government will consider the report and decide whether to act on the recommendations.
- The parliamentary report makes four recommendations. These are:
- greater transparency in the regulatory system relating to genetically modified animals for human consumption;
- support for independent research into health and environmental effects of new genetic modification technologies;
- mandatory labelling only for issues of food health and safety; and
- traceability of genetically modified animals.
- there are no special labelling requirements for genetically modified foods in Canada, unless the genetic modification changes the nutritional quality of the food or creates a potential health risk (e.g., allergen disclosure requirement); and
- if a company chooses to make a claim relating to a genetically modified food, the claim must not be misleading regarding the character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety of the food; there is a voluntary labelling standard that can be used to assess if a claim is misleading.
The parliamentary committee received input from government agencies, environmental groups, and industry organizations such as BIOTECanada.
1 Genetically Modified Animals for Human Consumption, Report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, December 2016.
2 Novel Food Information—AquAdvantage® Salmon (Health Canada; May 19, 2016); DFO. 2013. Summary of the Environmental and Indirect Human Health Risk Assessment of AquAdvantage® Salmon. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Resp. 2013/023; Decision Document DD2016-117 Determination of the Safety of AquaBounty Technologies Inc. (Incorporated)'s Salmon (Salmo salar L. (Linnaeus)) Event (May 19, 2016)
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