GMO-free news from Canada

30.03.2021 |

Food security? The real stakeholders are food providers, workers, and the food-insecure

Why now for a Long Food Movement? What's the controversy over tech in food systems anyway? And how can social movements possibly alter the course of "agribusiness-as-usual" by 2045?

To mark the launch of the Long Food Movement report, we asked lead author Pat Mooney (ETC Group and IPES-Food) for his take on who the real stakeholders are when it comes to the world's food security.

This report calls for a ‘Long Food Movement’. But why are our food systems in need of such a radical overhaul?

23.03.2021 |

Gene Editing: Urgent Action Alert

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) appear ready to propose removing regulation for some genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For many months, Health Canada has been developing new draft guidance on how regulators will assess the risks of GMOs (See details below). The proposals could be published any day now. Documents show that these proposals could exempt some genetically engineered foods and crop plants from regulation, particularly those products of certain genome editing or gene editing techniques. Health Canada is talking about allowing companies to make their own safety determinations for some of these GMOs.

11.03.2021 |

Explainer: Everything you need to know about Canada's new laws for GMOs and gene editing

Canada is changing its risk assessment policy for genetically modified plants and food products sold at home and overseas. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that contain foreign DNA will still be subject to government regulatory oversight. However, a new category of GMOs — gene-edited organisms that do not contain foreign DNA — will be exempt from safety assessments by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). To date, these are mostly crops like corn that have been modified to enhance a specific, naturally occurring characteristic, such as high corn starch content.

Gene-editing techniques are also common in medicine, including in vaccines like the AstraZeneca COVID-19 inoculation.

17.12.2020 |

Four of Canada’s Five Major Grocery Chains Fail Transparency Test on GMOs

Sutton and Halifax, December 17, 2020: A new report released today ranks Canada’s major grocery retailers for their transparency on sales of genetically modified (GM) whole foods: fruits and vegetables, and the GM salmon. Out of Canada’s five major grocery chains, only Quebec/Ontario chain Metro provided clear answers for consumers.

“Without mandatory GM food labelling, grocery stores need to step up to provide information to customers.” said Thibault Rehn of Quebec network Vigilance OGM.

Vigilance OGM and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) have co-published retailer responses to their questionnaire, in a report that provides other basic information for consumers about GM foods. The questionnaire focused on whole foods, asking if the major grocery chains were selling, or going to sell, the GM salmon and GM produce: GM apples, GM potatoes and GM sweetcorn. The report is “GMOs in your grocery store: Ranking company transparency”.

20.08.2020 |

Podcast #4: What is Technology?

And why do we need technology assessment? An interview with Jim Thomas

In this episode, ETC Co-Executive Director Jim Thomas explains how ETC understands technology, "Mooney's Law," and the utility of technology assessments for social movements. The episode is hosted by Zahra Moloo.

07.07.2020 |

Genome Editing in Food and Farming: Risks and Unexpected Consequences

The report provides an overview of the new genetic engineering techniques of genome editing being explored in agriculture, and the range of risks and potential unexpected consequences that can arise from them.

The purpose of our report is to support public discussions about the possible implications of using genetic engineering in food and farming. How should new genetic engineering technologies be used, and how should decisions about them be made?

12.02.2020 |

Three Big Battles for Global Food Policy Looming

World Food Systems Summit is part of a three-pronged corporate food policy power grab

February 12, 2020—A corporate alliance (consisting of Big Ag, the World Economic Forum, philanthro-capitalists and others) have spearheaded three separate initiatives (the Food Systems Summit, restructuring research institutions, acceleration of data collection) which threaten to converge and utterly transform the multilateral food and agriculture system.

If successful, these initiatives would further force-feed the failed industrial food system to the public sector and world agriculture, binding governments to a corporate agenda that marginalizes farmers, civil society, social movements and agroecology.

In a new Communiqué, The Next Agribusiness Takeover, ETC Group describes in detail the history and implications of the three initiatives – for which the World Food Systems Summit is setting the framework.

21.11.2019 |

CBAN Factsheet: “Golden Rice” GM Vitamin A Rice

Golden Rice is the name of a rice that has been genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) to produce beta-carotene,

which the body can convert into vitamin A. This beta-carotene gives the rice grains the yellowish colour that inspired its name.

Golden Rice is being developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a research and educational organization

based in the Philippines, along with various national partners in other countries.



The 2018 decision by Canadian government regulators (Health Canada) to assess and approve the safety of Golden Rice was not a “humanitarian gesture.” Health Canada was clear that “the efficacy of the GR2E rice in helping vitamin A deficiency in affected populations was not evaluated” and that “IRRI has indicated that this product is not intended to be sold in Canada.”

11.11.2019 |

Plate Tech-Tonics: Mapping Corporate Power in Big Food

Intersecting oligopolies, big data, unprecedented control of seeds byagrochemical companies. Corporations and giant asset managementfirms are creating an earthquake in the food system, in order to establish control of machinery, livestock breeding, pharmaceuticals and other inputs to the global food system, while consolidation continues in processing and distribution as well.

ETC’s new report, Plate Tech-tonics, tracks players and trends to shed light on the state of corporate control in industrial food production.

04.10.2019 |

Highlight negative results to improve science

Publishers, reviewers and other members of the scientific community must fight science’s preference for positive results — for the benefit of all, says Devang Mehta.

Near the end of April, my colleagues and I published an unusual scientific paper — one reporting a failed experiment — in Genome Biology. Publishing my work in a well-regarded peer-reviewed journal should’ve been a joyous, celebratory event for a newly minted PhD holder like me. Instead, trying to navigate through three other journals and countless revisions before finding it a home at Genome Biology has revealed to me one of the worst aspects of science today: its toxic definitions of ‘success’.

Our work started as an attempt to use the much-hyped CRISPR gene-editing tool to make cassava (Manihot esculenta) resistant to an incredibly damaging viral disease, cassava mosaic disease. (Cassava is a tropical root crop that is a staple food for almost one billion people.) However, despite previous reports that CRISPR could provide viral immunity to plants by disrupting viral DNA, our experiments consistently showed the opposite result.

In fact, our paper also showed that using CRISPR as an ‘immune system’ in plants probably led to the evolution of viruses that were more resistant to CRISPR. And although this result was scientifically interesting, it wasn’t the ‘positive’ result that applied scientists like me are taught to value. I had set off on my PhD trying to engineer plants to be resistant to viral diseases, and instead, four years later, I had good news for only the virus.