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GM crops and foods NOT on the market in Canada

The following genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) foods are not on the market in Canada as of April 2023:

  • Flax – Canadian farmers suffered a GM flax contamination crisis in late 2009, despite the fact that GM flax has never been on the market.
  • Potato – Newly approved GM potatoes (from Simplot) are sold in the US but not yet in Canada.
  • Rice – There is no GM rice grown anywhere in the world. The much-discussed Vitamin-A “Golden Rice” is not in yet use.
  • Wheat – A newly approved GM wheat is now grown in Argentina for the market in Argentina and Brazil. In 2004, Monsanto withdrew its applications for approval of GM herbicide-tolerant wheat in Canada and the US.

The federal government does not know what is on the market

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have approved over 150 varieties of 15 types of food and crops under the broad categories they call “Novel Foods” and “Plants with Novel Traits” but:

  • Not all of these “novel” products are produced using genetic engineering (In the CFIA list, GM products can be identified by looking for “LMO” which stands for Living Modified Organism).
  • Many approved GM crop varieties are not currently on the market, and the government does not track this information.
  • In April 2023, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food decided that new gene edited seeds (those that have no foreign DNA) are exempt from Canadian Food Inspection Agency safety assessments (Part V of the Seeds Act). This means that many new gene edited seeds will be released onto the market without any notification to the government or public.