Celebrity chef Michael Smith came out in support of genetically-modified food at a consultation about Canada's Food Policy.

Smith joined federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay at a consultation Wednesday in Charlottetown — the first of five public consultations being held across the country over the next two months.

The sessions, which includes stakeholders, Indigenous representatives, experts, and key policy makers, will discuss food affordability, accessibility, safety and conservation. 

'We need that tool in our tool kit'

"This debate over whether GMO is something that we should or shouldn't do is frankly disingenuous, first world problems," said Smith, who was invited to speak at the event as P.E.I.'s food ambassador. "We need to be able to feed 10 billion people on this planet by 2050."

"We need that tool in our tool kit," he said.

Smith went on to acknowledge that there's a need for better transparency surrounding GMO foods.

He said he believes the federal government needs to develop policies that promote better labelling for GMO foods.

"We need to know when we're eating GMO food. We need our policy makers to help us know," said Smith.

Regulatory system is science based: MacAulay

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was a little more cautious in showing his support for GMO foods.

"Do I agree with GM? We have a regulatory system that's science based. We promote it worldwide. I promote it world wide," said MacAulay. 

Lawrence MacAulay - Charlottetown - 9/8/17

'If the science based regulatory system indicates [GMO] food is safe for Canadians, I agree that they're safe for Canadians,' says Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"If the science based regulatory system indicates food is safe for Canadians, I agree that they're safe for Canadians," he said.

Smith also calling for tax on processed foods

Smith also spoke about processed foods, saying he believes a tax system should be put into place to make purchasing and selling processed foods more difficult across the country.

"This processed food experiment is done and over," he said. "It's killing Canadians."

Public consultations on A Food Policy for Canada were launched on May 29 through an online survey