Canada’s regulation of new crops based on trait novelty, not process by which trait introduced

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Novel traits are used for a range of functions in crops across Canada – from heightened insect and disease resistance to improved agronomic performance.

According to Denis Schryburt, of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), novel traits can be introduced using conventional breeding methods, biotechnology or mutagenesis. Resulting products are evaluated by CFIA based on their performance. “The Canadian biotechnology regulatory system is based on the principle of novelty, meaning that products are regulated based on their characteristics and not by the process by which they were made,” Schryburt says.

The CFIA is responsible for assessing the safety of new products for release into the environment and use as livestock feed. Health Canada, on the other hand, assesses the product’s safety for use as food.

“In the context of environmental release, we use the term ‘plant with novel traits’ to [describe] a plant that contains a trait that is both new to the Canadian environment and has the potential to affect the specific use and safety of the plant with respect to the environment and human health,” Schryburt explains.


For PNTs, the CFIA evaluates the potential of the plant to become a weed or to be invasive, the potential consequences of gene flow to wild relatives, the potential to increase the activity of a plant pest, the potential impact on non-target species and the potential impact on biodiversity.

Once safety evaluations have been completed for each PNT, the CFIA and Health Canada post documents outlining the rationale for the decision.

Read full, original post: Introducing plants with novel traits

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend