For Immediate Release
May 19, 2022, Regina – Yesterday, Health Canada published their new regulatory guidance for novel foods which removes government oversight of many new gene-edited foods and abandons transparency for the public, by not establishing a mandatory system for reporting these new foods. This decision has raised the concern of organic groups who have been asking the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food to reject a similar proposal on the regulation of gene edited seeds from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“SaskOrganics is disappointed by Health Canada’s release of new regulatory guidance which relies on private companies for safety assessments and will create new uncertainty about gene edited foods for consumers,” said Garry Johnson, SaskOrganics President. “We appeal to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food to reject a similar proposal that could end government safety assessments of gene edited seeds. Minister Bibeau needs to ensure continued regulation of gene edited seeds to ensure safety as well as transparency for farmers.”
Health Canada’s decision means that companies can release some new gene-edited food without any third-party assessments, and without any notification to the public, consumers and farmers.
“Organic farmers will continue to produce high quality, nutritious food that conforms to the Canada Organic Standard which prohibits gene edited and other genetically engineered products. Health Canada’s decision will increase uncertainty for consumers but Canadians can turn to organic food. The regulation of the organic sector builds and maintain public trust.” said Johnson.
SaskOrganics will continue to advocate on behalf of the organic sector in Saskatchewan and work with our colleagues across the country to help ensure Health Canada and the CFIA addresses the concerns the sector has about the potential impact the new guidance will have on public trust and organic markets.
For more information:
Garry Johnson, President, SaskOrganics
cell: 306-741-2433 e: email@example.com
Marla Carlson, Executive Director, SaskOrganics
cell: 306-535-2710 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
SaskOrganics is a farmer led, membership non-profit organization. We serve all certified organic operations throughout the value chain in Saskatchewan by advocating for a sustainable and thriving organic community through leadership in research, market development and communications.
To learn more about SaskOrganics visit www.saskorganics.org
(1) CBAN Press Release, May 18, 2022 “Federal government abandons safety assessments and transparency for new gene-edited foods”