Will Canada follow U.S. lead on GE salmon?
Canada could have trouble keeping genetically engineered salmon out of the food supply if the U.S. government approves the first genetically engineered animal that people can eat.
And according to an internal analysis obtained by Postmedia News, one potential solution is to simply follow the U.S. lead, in order to avoid trade complications.
That would mean allowing the GE fish in the Canadian market.
AquaBounty Technologies, based in Massachusetts, is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell its GE Atlantic salmon, called AquAdvantage, in the United States. But FDA approval could have ramifications for consumers north of the border.
“If the product enters the U.S. market before it is approved to enter the Canadian food supply, it could result in bilateral trade complications. Canadian importers would need to ensure that any salmon or salmon product brought to Canada does not contain illegal GE salmon. Given the complexity of supply chains - particularly for processed foods — this could be difficult,” states the Agriculture Canada memo on the commercialization of new technology.
The document, shared with staff in Health Canada's food directorate, was prepared in June 2010 by officials at Agriculture Canada in consultation with staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
“Canada could also face complications in foreign markets if it is unable to provide assurance that its supply chain is free of GE salmon,” the document states.