About Agricultural Science - Biotechnology
The rapidly-growing agricultural biotechnology sector has the potential to greatly enhance quality of life in terms of health, safety, the environment, food security, and social and economic development. It offers economic opportunities for social and economic advancement, particularly in market development and job creation. More research is needed to bring biotechnology products to the marketplace, but equally important is the need to provide educational opportunities to allay concerns about this emerging technology.
Concern over the long-term effects of genetic changes to food products are taken very seriously by government regulators and the biotechnology industry, including Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. Canada and the United States have strict regulations and procedures in place regarding our food supply system. These regulations have earned our countries a reputation for having the safest food supplies in the world. This reputation must not be compromised by the introduction of biotechnology products. There is no scientific evidence that the risks associated with biotechnology are any greater than those of traditional methods of breeding and selection.
In Canada, Health Canada, under the Food and Drugs Act, is responsible for food safety. This includes all compositional considerations for food, the setting of standards and the conducting of food safety assessments. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the inspection and monitoring of Plant with Novel Traits (PNTs), which include agricultural biotechnology derived products and other novel products, to ensure registered products meet quality and safety standards after registration.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for food safety; the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for inspecting, monitoring and regulating the environmental release of products derived through the use of recombinant DNA technology.
Biotechnology promises to help farmers meet the food production needs of tomorrow, as well as the demand for specialty products. OSF is committed to that objective with our leading-edge research and application of biotechnology, while ensuring food safety standards will not be compromised in any measure. OSF has taken a conservative approach to agricultural biotechnology developments, putting health and food safety concerns ahead of product development. Our philosophy of focusing on genes where the amplification or silencing of the gene activity can deliver the trait changes we seek is consistent with this approach. The use of precision breeding in crops where suitable gene sequences have been identified is another example of our commitment to safe and novel approaches.