February 25, 2017

Take Action / Resources / Topics / GE Crops and Foods (On the Market)

GE Crops and Foods (On the Market)

It's been 20 years since genetically engineered (GE; also called genetically modified or GM) crops and foods were first introduced into Canada.

GM Food Bulletin 2017 Jan

Four GE crops are widely grown in Canada:

  1. canola
  2. corn
  3. soy
  4. sugar beet (white sugar beet for sugar processing)

These four crops end up as processed food ingredients and are also widely used for animal feed. They are genetically engineered to be insect resistant and/or herbicide tolerant. For details on where these GM crops are planted, and how much, see CBAN's report "Where in the world are GM crops and foods?"

Canada could also be importing a small amount of:

5. GE papaya (from Hawaii)
6. GE squash - some varieties of yellow crookneck squash (from the US)
7. GE cottonseed oil
8. milk products from the US made with the use of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

Some other genetically engineered crops have been approved and could be sold in stores soon:

9. The GM non-browning apple was approved in 2015 in the US and Canada but is not on the market in Canada in 2016.
10. There is a GM potato that was approved in March 2016 but none were planted in Canada in 2016.
11. Canada has also approved a GM Atlantic salmon. It is not yet in production anywhere in the world.
12. In Canada, some GM alfalfa was sold in 2016 for the first time. This crop is used for animal feed.

Though the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada have approved over 100 varieties of 12 genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods under their category of "Plants with Novel Traits" and "Novel Foods", not all of these are products of genetic engineering and many are not currently on the market. Many GE crop varieties that are approved are not on the market in Canada, or anywhere else in the world, such as GE tomatoes. For more information and analysis see CBAN's report "Where in the world are GM crops and foods?"

GE Crops in Europe

2015: The only genetically engineered crop currently cultivated in European Union (EU) is Monsanto's insect resistant (Bt) corn MON810. In 2015, five countries – Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania – planted a total of 116,870 hectares of Bt corn, 18% less than the amount planted in 2014. Spain planted 92% of the total area under Bt corn in the EU. EU regulation allows Member States to opt-out of cultivating GM crops. 19 of 28 EU countries have chosen not to grow GM crops in their territories. Germany and Poland used to grow GM corn, but discontinued cultivation in 2009 and 2012, respectively. EU countries import approximately 40 million tonnes of GMOs, mostly GM soy, from North and South America for animal feed.

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