Letter to the Editor, Published in the Toronto Sun, June 2, 2022
Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos has very recently allowed Health Canada to give up its role as independent regulator when it comes to the safety of some genetically modified (GM) foods. The decision means that Canadians could soon be eating some unreported, unknown GM foods that have not been assessed for safety by Health Canada.
Biotechnology companies now have an open door to the market for some GM foods produced with new gene-editing techniques: If a food comes from a plant that was genetically modified without incorporating DNA from another species (it has no foreign DNA), then the company can decide if the food is safe to eat, without any government oversight. Companies can sell these GM foods without telling the government that they exist.
Companies will have total control over their food safety reviews and the information available for the public. This is a dangerous move away from independent science and transparency.
Soon, the agriculture minister could approve similar changes for gene-edited seeds, leaving both consumers and farmers in the dark. Canadians should speak up before that happens.
Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network