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When will “Enviropig™” be on the market?

Canada has not yet created regulations specific to GM animals, yet Enviropig™ could be approved for the market any day.

Environment Canada Approved Enviropig

In February 2010, Environment Canada granted approval to the University of Guelph for the reproduction and exportation of Enviropig™ via a “Significant New Activity Notice”. This notice allows for the reproduction of the GM pigs in controlled facilities, segregated from other animals under specified conditions.

This is the first time that Environment Canada has been directly involved in the approval of a GMO. Environment Canada was given the responsibility for assessing the environmental risks of Enviropig™ because there are no regulations for GM animals in Canada. In cases where regulations do not exist, new products are assessed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. (All GM crops in Canada have been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, an agency under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, under the “Plants with Novel Trait” guidelines.)

Health Canada Assessing Food Safety

The University of Guelph is now waiting for Health Canada to approve Enviropig™ for human consumption. According to the University, they submitted an application for approval on April 23, 2009. The application and the process for its evaluation are kept secret by the University and Health Canada so there is no way of knowing when the application could be approved, but it could be granted at any time.

The University also submitted an application for approval to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which is likely a request to approve Enviropig™ for use in other livestock feed. This is because pigs are rendered to feed to poultry and other animals, as a protein source. The nature of the request to the CFIA is unknown because the agency will neither confirm nor deny that they are assessing a request.[xiv]

Approval requested in the U.S.

In 2007, the University of Guelph submitted a request for approval of Enviropig™ to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where it will be assessed as a new drug.

Approval requested in China

The University of Guelph is seeking licensees for Enviropig™, especially in China. In 2008, David Hobson of the University of Guelph, and the Board Chair of Ontario Pork traveled to China to “pursue access to China’s regulatory process and potential partners for commercialization of the Enviropig.”[xv]