GMO-free news from Canada

10.08.2017 |

Guinea pig Canadians offered ‘world’s first’ GMO salmon

Food safety activists and environmentalists are concerned over the potential risks from a new US brand of genetically-modified salmon, which has just hit Canadian shelves. Some believe Canadians are being used as guinea pigs for potentially harmful technology.

After trying for two decades, AquaBounty Technologies’ GM salmon was finally approved for sale in Canada in 2016, which led to the most recent developments.


IGA and Costco supermarkets posted on their websites that they do not intend to sell the salmon.

Environmentalist groups are outraged by the new product.

The Montreal-based organization GMO Vigilance has stated on their website that the sale of the salmon in Canada makes Canadians “guinea pigs,” and they believe that the government should introduce legislation that requires GM foods to be labeled appropriately.

"It's a world first … The first genetically modified animal is on the market, and consumers in Quebec and Canada will become the first guinea-pigs unknowingly. In the absence of mandatory labeling we still cannot make an informed choice,” Thibault Rehn, a coordinator at GMO Vigilance, said, according to CNBC.

09.08.2017 |

Canadians unknowingly eating GM food 

Canada has become the first country where a genetically modified animal is sold for human consumption, and Canadians may have unwittingly been eating it over the past year.

In its latest earnings statement, AquaBounty Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based biotechnology company that holds the licence to produce the GM fish at a hatchery in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, reported that about 4.5 tonnes of "fresh AquAdvantage Salmon fillets” have been sold in Canada in the second quarter of 2017.


The company did not indicate where the fish is sold or respond to an interview request.

Lucy Sharratt, coordinator of the Ottawa-based Canadian Biotechnology Action Network that has called for mandatory labelling of genetically engineered food, said that while some major Canadian grocery chains have no plans to sell the GM salmon, it could have ended up in smaller stores or on restaurant menus.

“Because there’s no labelling in Canada, Canadians who have been buying salmon, haven’t had a choice,’ she said. “There’s no transparency in the grocery store for Canadians. Canada is an easy market for GM salmon.”

28.06.2017 |

World’s First GM Fish Factory Needs Risk Assessment

PEI Approval of Rollo Bay facility puts wild salmon at risk, groups say

Charlottetown, June 27, 2017: Today, local and national environmental groups expressed profound concern over a decision by the Government of Prince Edward Island to approve construction of the world’s first factory to grow genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) fish.

“GM salmon poses a major risk to wild salmon, yet there has been no federal scientific assessment of the commercial production of this organism,” said Mark Butler of Ecology Action Centre. “A recent parliamentary report raised serious concerns about the approval process for GM animals and the federal minister of the Environment needs to step in right away.”

23.05.2017 |

GMO potatoes will not be grown commercially on P.E.I. this season - Prince Edward Island

There will be no commercially grown GMO potatoes on Prince Edward Island this year, according to Simplot Plant Sciences, the company that developed the Innate potato.

Innate potatoes bruise less and have less black spots than conventional potatoes.

New genetically engineered potato approved for Canada

Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said the company is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there's a proven market for them.

"There is strong interest from the grower community and retailers are also interested. But it's a very involved purchase decision," said Cole.

17.05.2017 |

Groups Call on Grocery Stores to Reject GM Fish and Produce as Parliament Votes Down Mandatory Labelling for GM Foods

Ottawa, May 17, 2017 – Public interest groups the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Vigilance OGM, are expressing profound disappointment that Members of Parliament voted down Private Member’s Bill C-291 for mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) foods.

Polls over twenty years consistently show that over 75 percent of Canadians want GM foods labelled. Health Canada’s 2016 survey put this number at 78 percent.

“Transparency and traceability are missing in Canada when it comes to GM foods,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “The continued lack of mandatory labelling is an untenable situation for consumers.”

07.05.2017 |

U of S, prof under fire for Monsanto ties Documents show agri-business coached Peter Phillips, edited academic articles

The University of Saskatchewan and one of its well-known professors are acting like "sock puppets" for agri-business giant Monsanto, says a U.S. researcher.

Gary Ruskin of U.S. Right to Know has obtained thousands of pages documenting North American university ties to corporations involved in genetic engineering.

Ruskin recently shared with CBC News nearly 700 pages of U of S emails and other material. Ruskin said the documents show Monsanto has recruited a team of top academics in a "Machiavellian" effort to sway public opinion.

28.04.2017 |

Health Canada’s glyphosate evaluation flawed, environmental groups charge


Ottawa - April 28, 2017 — Health Canada has dismissed credible evidence in its re-evaluation of the world’s most extensively-used pesticide, glyphosate, in today’s decision to continue its registration in Canada.

Glyphosate is infamous as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, and is now used in hundreds of other herbicides manufactured by many of the largest agrochemical companies.

“The widespread use of glyphosate is contaminating the environment and the food we eat,” said Louise Hénault-Éthier, science projects manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. “Research shows that glyphosate is persistent and that buffer zones are not necessarily effective in preventing run-off to streams. Furthermore, nearly a third of our food contains glyphosate, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.’’

12.03.2017 |

Welcome to the GMOs 2.0 Ingredients Database!

How do I use this database?

If you want to know if a specific ingredient, compound, or product is produced using GMO 2.0 techniques, you can search for that item under search full database or Ingredient name

You can also search by current market status and category using the drop down menus – to find a list of all GMO 2.0 ingredients used in cosmetics currently on the market, for example.

You can also view a list of companies manufacturing GMO 2.0 ingredients, a full list of GMO 2.0 ingredients, and do an advanced search using the menu at the top of the page.

30.01.2017 |

2016: The Year that Wasn't Normal - ETC Group's Long-Awaited 2016 Year-in-Review

Artificial Biology:

In 2016, we found ourselves spending more and more time tracking the overrunning frontiers of synthetic biology, genome editing, gene drives, molecular communication and beyond.

Gene Editing: As predicted, the CRISPR gene editing technique continued to be “a very big thing” through 2016. As science served up gene-edited dinners as PR stunts in both Sweden and New York, it seemed a new nutritious CRISPR product in development was being announced monthly: chickens, mushrooms, corn. The heavyweight patent bust-up of the year over who actually gets to own CRISPR finally hit the courtroom in December, and the licensing battle also got underway. Harvard’s Broad Institute/Editas licensed to Monsanto, while Berkley’s Doudna Lab/Caribou Biosciences licensed to DuPont and Max Planck's Charpentier lab licensed to syn bio leader Evolva. It also became clear that a CRISPR-plus future is waiting in the wings — several similar gene editing techniques with catchy names such as NgAgo and 16sRNA became public this year, Monsanto licensed an additional CRISPR variant (CPF1) and in an interesting twist in the CRISPR patent battle, Cellectis claimed their foundational patents may undercut the whole gene editing field including CRISPR.

Gene Drives: More out of control than a AI Uber car is the rapidly emerging development of gene drives — gene-edited organisms deliberately designed to spread in the wild by sexual reproduction (sex drives?) to take over and crash wild populations and species. In 2016, mega-foundations run by Bill Gates and India’s Tata conglomerate each poured around $70–$75 million apiece into the gene drive race. Investment-wise, the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is the dark horse, with an unknown amount invested in its ‘safe genes’ project, which ostensibly aims to find ways to recall rogue gene drives back out of the environment. In other contingency plans to re-close Pandora’s Box, in June, alpha gene drive jockey Kevin Esvelt of MIT introduced his safety idea of ‘local gene drives’ with his ‘daisy drive’ proposal. In ETC’s view, daisy drives may perversely accelerate gene drive releases by rendering the field more commercially interesting. Esvelt’s pronouncements on gene drives swing erratically between eagerness and caution. We suspect he was behind the Broad Institute’s intriguing decision to stipulate in Monsanto’s CRISPR licensing agreement that they could not use CRISPR for gene drives or terminator technology. ETC Group is sceptical that withholding a few patent keys will stop corporate, military or other interests from taking joy rides on gene drives.

30.01.2017 |

Interview: Researcher, Writer Jim Thomas Discusses Suite of Emerging Synthetic Biology Technologies

Culture of Disruption

Interviewed by Tracy Frisch

For 20 years, Jim Thomas has been at the forefront of international policy debates and campaigns on emerging technologies with Greenpeace International and ETC Group. Steward Brand called him “the leading critic of biotech.”


ACRES U.S.A. I had never heard of gene drives until I started preparing for this interview.

THOMAS. ETC Group is probably more concerned about gene drives than almost any other technology. A gene drive is a genetic element that will reliably get passed on from one generation to another. It has been thought that there are natural gene drives where a particular genetic trait is encoded in the genome in such a way that it will more likely or always get passed on to the next generation. With the CRISPR gene drive, which is what we’re interested in, it’s possible to engineer a particular genetic trait into an organism so that it always gets passed onto the next generation. If you engineer a fruit fly with a gene drive that makes it have red eyes, then all its offspring will have red eyes, as will all their offspring, so the entire fruit fly population will have red eyes. In normal Mendelian genetics you could assume that a trait will get passed on 50 percent of the time and 50 percent of the time it won’t. With this gene drive, 100 percent of the time the trait gets passed on. What’s significant about gene drives is their ability to relentlessly spread a genetically engineered trait through a population until ultimately you change or destroy an entire species. A lot of gene drive research aims to render a species of mosquito or parasite extinct.