from toronto sun: The federal government is refusing to say whether it is close to approving genetically modified animals for human consumption. But if they do, you may never know it.
So far, groups have applied to get approval for fish that grow twice as fast as normal, and pigs with mice DNA spliced into them.
“For confidentiality reasons, Health Canada cannot confirm whether or not a submission has been filed or any other information related to a submission,” said Jenny Van Alstyne, spokeswoman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
This week, media reports revealed that scientists in the department of fisheries and oceans raised doubts about approving genetically modified fish over concerns the fish could escape from fish farms and mate with natural Canadian fish stock.
AquaBounty, a firm with Canadian and U.S. operations, made the application.
AquaBounty’s website claims the company is also working on developing hybrid salmon, trout and tilapia, which will also grow faster than traditional fish.
The application for a genetically modified pig comes from the University of Guelph. Called Enviropig, researchers spliced DNA from mice into Yorkshire pigs to reduce the amount of phosphorous in swine’s manure.
The researchers hope the reduced phosphorous will mean less pollution in rivers and streams near large-scale pig farms.
Under current regulations, there would be no requirement to tell the public the animals they are eating are anything other than a regular fish or pigs.
“Consumers have a right to know what they are eating,” said MP Alex Atamanenko, the NDP agriculture and food security critic.
Atamanenko called on the government to put a moratorium on all genetically modified foods, calling them a health hazard.
“I think it would be a travesty if the government would allow this to happen without letting consumers know what they are eating… I think it’s absurd to release a genetically modified salmon or pig into the environment ,” said Atamanenko. “There¹s no way to separate a genetically modified salmon from regular salmon.”