- NFU PRESIDENT TESTIFIES BEFORE COMMONS AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
REGARDING GM CONTAMINATION
- The devastating and sudden closure of the European market
for Canadian flax exports due to contamination by a Genetically-Modified
(GM) flax variety proves the current regulatory system needs to be strengthened,
says Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
- In testimony recently before the House of Commons Agriculture
Committee in Ottawa, Boehm said Canadian farmers have borne the financial
brunt of the market collapse. While the flax market disruption is bad,
the potential for even worse calamities exists. With the possibility of
GM wheat on the horizon, he said the likelihood of GM contamination in
that crop could spell unprecedented disaster for the large Canadian export
- "It is critical that the system be reformed to prevent
further market disasters," stated Boehm. "It is imperative that
new and existing GM crops be looked at through the lens of potential market
harm. Recent changes to the variety registration system could accelerate
these market disasters for Canadian farmers. We have seen what GM contamination
of flax has done, and surely no one should doubt what would happen to wheat
if we allow GM varieties to be registered."
- Boehm said the current regulatory system would not stop
any new GM varieties from "killing our markets."
- The NFU President said the recent approval of "Smartstax
Corn" means this new GM variety of corn will likely be grown in Canada.
"Smartstax has eight combined genetically-engineered traits. These
GM traits have all been approved on an individual basis, but they have
not been assessed with regard to the effect of those traits when combined
with each other," Boehm stated. "There has, so far, been no firm
recognition on the part of the regulators that mixing genes might require
further detailed scrutiny. If you mix two or three chemicals, which are
perfectly safe individually, you can get toxic results in combination.
Could this not happen with mixing genes?"
- Contact: Terry Boehm, NFU President (306) 255-2880 or