Ban Outdoor Field Tests of GM Crops
On June 14, 2018, the Canadian government announced an escape incident with unapproved genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) wheat. Several GM wheat plants were found on a road in Alberta in an isolated case that did not reach the food system. The government does not know how the illegal GM plants got there. No GM wheat was ever approved for growing or eating in Canada, but the GM trait found growing in Alberta was field tested from 1998-2000. On June 7, 2019 the US Department of Agriculture announced it is investigating the fourth GM wheat escape incident in the US.
The National Farmers Union is calling for a ban on outdoor testing of GM crops. Please support this call by sending your letter from this website today (use the green box on the right of this page).
“The only way to prevent these incidents happening in the future is to ban outdoor testing.” – Terry Boehm, Chair of the National Farmers’ Union Seed Committee
- June 20, 2018: The National Farmers Union has called for a ban on outdoor testing of GM crops, and has asked the government to “make public the precise location of every current and past genetically modified wheat test site so that farmers and other Canadians can be on the look- out for escapes and if found, assist in eradicating them.”
“We may never know how this GM wheat came to be present on an access road.” – Canadian Food Inspection Agency, June 2018
GM Crop Field Tests in Canada
GM Wheat Field Tests: According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), biotech companies have conducted field trials of genetically modified wheat in most years since 1998, including 2 in Ontario in 2011 and 2012, and 52 in Alberta in 2014. Monsanto conducted outdoor trials of GM herbicide-tolerant wheat from 1998 through 2004. Syngenta and BASF did field testing in 2005 and 2006. For the past five years, most of the field trials have been done in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 54 field trials of genetically modified wheat – including 32 by Bayer, which has just purchased Monsanto — were carried out in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in 2017.
For details please see CBAN’s report “GM Contamination in Canada: The failure of living modified organisms – incidents and impacts”