North American regulatory agencies have not yet approved genetically modified livestock for human consumption. The Enviropig project has ground to a stop, and genetically modified salmon research is waiting on approval from the FDA. Whether the GM salmon will push through the remaining obstacles before the company behind the research goes broke remains to be seen.
Internationally, consumer and agricultural support for GM crops and livestock is divided. China is steaming ahead with genetically-modified dairy cattle, yet GM rice production is currently illegal there. Farm journalists attending an international conference this week discussed the differing attitudes towards GMO in agriculture. While farmers in Zambia have been key to keeping out GM food, Burkina Faso is running GM cotton trials. The international farm journalists ask if whether we should use GMOs to feed a booming world population, and whether we can afford not to. I wonder if we could get the horse back into the barn if we wanted to.
The federal government doesn’t seem to think we could, given their announcement this week that they want to allow traces of unapproved GMOs in our imported food. There will be zero tolerance for unapproved GM seed intended for planting, in an attempt to protect the organic industry. The plan still needs to undergo more consultation in Canada before it’s tabled at the World Trade Organization in September.
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