June 15th, 2018

NDP Calls for Hearing on GMO Wheat Discovery

OTTAWA – Yesterday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released a statement announcing the discovery of unauthorized genetically modified wheat plants along a roadside in Alberta. The CFIA has revealed that they were not able to determine the source of these plants, but there was no other evidence of genetically modified wheat in the area and no risks to food safety. This morning, Japan announced the suspension of the sale of Canadian wheat pending further investigation. The NDP is calling for an immediate hearing to learn more about this issue.

“We are extremely concerned about the CFIA’s finding of genetically modified wheat in Alberta and the subsequent suspension of Canadian wheat sales in Japan. After months of challenges getting their product to market, Canadian wheat farmers are facing yet another obstacle. Canadians deserve to know more about this,” said NDP Agriculture Critic Alistair MacGregor, who will be moving a motion at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee calling for urgent hearings on this issue.

The NDP understands the need to support Canadian wheat farmers, preserve access to foreign markets, and hold a hearing to learn more about the unauthorized genetically modified wheat found growing in Alberta. The Japan announcement follows months of railway backlogs that delayed the delivery of grain to market. Wheat industry is the largest crop and the single biggest export earner in Canada with more than 27 million tonnes produced in 2017.

“The situation is very troubling because genetically modified wheat is not authorized for commercial purposes in Canada. The government and CFIA must take this issue seriously and make sure it is an isolated case. Canadian producers need to know that they will still have access to foreign markets," added Deputy Agriculture Critic Ruth Ellen Brosseau.