It’s been over 20 years since genetically engineered bio-crops and processed bio-foods were first introduced into Canada without public debate. Today, over half of Canada’s corn and soy is genetically engineered(GE). The majority of canola grown in Canada is GE. The vast majority of GE bio-crops are in used in processed food as ingredients such as corn starch, soy lecithin and canola oil. There is no law requiring the labelling of GE ingredients.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada have approved over 50 varieties of 12 GE biocrops and biofoods under the category of “Plants with Novel Traits” and “Novel Foods”. Of those that are GE biocrops, the seeds are engineered to produce crops which are either insect resistant or herbicide tolerant. Many now carry both traits.
GE BioCrops Globally
2011: GM biocrops (predominately bio-corn, bio-soy, and bio-cotton) are confined to a handful of countries with highly industrialized, export-oriented agricultural sectors. Nearly 90% of the area planted with GE biocrops in 2010 were located in five countries in North and South America, and 78% are sown in the US, Argentina and Brazil. The United States plants 45% of the world’s GE crops.
GE BioCrops in Europe
2011: The only GE bio-crop currently cultivated in the EU is Monsanto’s insect resistant (Bt) corn (MON810). In 2010, GE bio-corn was grown in the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia on a cultivation surface of about 82 000 hectares equaling a 13% decrease compared to 2009.
Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg have all banned the use and sale of the MON 810 GE corn due to concerns about its long term effects.