The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that it had discovered a small number of glyphosate-tolerant wheat plants growing in an isolated access road in southern Alberta last year.
After extensive research CFIA has confirmed that the material is not in the grain supply nor was it grown in any commercial fields, meaning it is not part of the food system. CFIA also confirmed that the plants do not pose any risk to human health or the environment.
“For the plant science industry, good stewardship means making sure processes and practices are in place to ensure plant science innovations are safe, sustainable and effective — from initial research and development all the way to end-of-life product disposal. The ability of the Canadian system to identify an extremely small number of plants, conduct inspection activities, and respond appropriately is a testament to the strength of this system,” says CropLife Canada in a statement.
“While this glyphosate-tolerant wheat has not been approved for commercialization in Canada, the gene that makes it glyphosate tolerant has been approved by CFIA and Health Canada in corn, soy, cotton, canola, alfalfa and sugar beets and is safe for human consumption, animal feed and for the environment.”
Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the food and feed safety of this gene in wheat more than a decade ago, in 2004, CropLife aded.
CFIA has issued a report on the incident.
In an email alert, the Canadian Seed Trade Association said the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will be temporarily suspending wheat shipments to allow them time to conduct internal reviews and assessments. The Canadian government is in close talks with all trading partners, CSTA added.
“Please know that we will continue to monitor this situation very closely and will update our members accordingly. Please do not hesitate to contact the CSTA office should you have any questions or concerns.”