Unapproved GMO wheat found in southern Alberta, but risks mitigated, CFIA says
'It is a very isolated footprint, a very small space,' agency says
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says unapproved genetically modified wheat that is resistant to herbicides was found in southern Alberta last summer, but the problem has been mitigated.
Genetically modified (GMO) wheat is not approved for commercial use in Canada for growing or seed production. An unspecified number of plants were found along an access road, after it had been sprayed and those plants survived.
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David Bailey, CFIA plant production division director, said the agency is not speculating where the plants came from.
"It was found on the side of the road, not in the field of production, so it is a very isolated footprint, a very small space. It is not in production and it is not in the Canadian grain or seed system," Bailey said Thursday.
The risk of cross contamination with non-GMO product has been isolated, he added.
"We have done significant surveys at all of the field that surrounds that location as well as all of the product that was developed on the farm in the previous growing season, all of which came back negative."
Bailey said the CFIA will work with the land owner, and it will be monitored for three years, and all of the plants that were found last year have been destroyed.
In 2013, several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm.
With files from CBC's Elizabeth Snaddon, The Canadian Press