The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society and the Quebec network Vigilance OGM are expressing concerns over Health Canada’s approval of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal, a GM Atlantic salmon, for human consumption.
Health Canada announced approval of the GM fish for human consumption in a conference call last week.(1) The Atlantic salmon has been genetically modified using genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout, to grow faster. The Canadian decision follows a US government safety approval in November 2015, though there is now a US import ban on the GM fish until some form of labelling standard is established.
“At the very least, the government should immediately establish mandatory labelling of all GM foods so consumers can choose,” said Thibault Rehn of Vigilance OGM.
The latest consumer poll shows 88% of Canadians want mandatory labelling of all GM foods and 45% said they would definitely not eat the GM salmon.
In November 2013, the Minister of Environment approved commercial production of the GM fish eggs and fish, triggering a court case brought forward by environmental groups Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society. The case is ongoing.