How does a genetically engineered food get to the Canadian market?

In December 2011, OSF began the government review process that is required to take a new food product, like Arctic® Apples, to market in Canada. In Canada, two agencies share responsibility for regulating plants and plant foods created through biotechnology: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada. CFIA ensures the safety of “plants with novel traits” for the environment and use as animal feed. Health Canada ensures that “novel foods” are safe for human consumption.

Canada's review of Arctic Apples will be science-based, strenuousBoth agencies require substantial data to prove the similarity and safety of a genetically modified plant/plant food to its conventional counterpart. Previous reviews of biotech foods have taken 2-3 years. As we noted in our previous blog post here about the U.S. regulatory process, we are confident that the extensive data clearly demonstrate Arctic® Apples’ safety and wholesomeness. Our science team will diligently answer any questions posed of us, just as we’ve done with U.S. regulators.

In addition, OSF will be participating in a voluntary “Notice of Submission” process with CFIA, through which the Canadian public will be given the opportunity to comment on our Arctic® Apple submission. We know that involving you, the public, is the right thing to do.

Once CFIA and Health Canada have completed their respective reviews, both agencies will provide the Canadian public with a summary of their assessments, called “decision documents.” CFIA’s decision documents are posted here; Health Canada’s decision documents are posted here.

Our bottom line is, we want you to be as confident of the similarity and safety of Arctic® Apples as we are. These extensive government due diligence reviews add to that confidence. And keep in mind that we are also planning to label Arctic® Apples at point of sale so you can find them when you’re looking for them! (Read more about our labeling plans in our website FAQs.)

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