(Rogersville, Monday April 8, 2019) – The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has recently approved the production of genetically modified (GM) Atlantic salmon. AquaBounty, based in Prince Edward Island, would become the first factory in Canada to produce GM salmon, the first GM food animal in the world.
The Canadian government has invested in the research and development of GM products, including salmon, through agreements, public grants and loans. While GM salmon is already sold in Canada, produced at Aquabounty’s plant in Panama, there is no mandatory labelling of GM foods. The NFU-NB believes this is an affront to the fact that for two decades, polls have shown that consistently over 80% of Canadians want mandatory labelling of GM foods. Canadians’ right to know what they are eating continues to be ignored and even voted down in Parliament with the most recent example bill C-291 for mandatory labelling defeated in May 2017 with over 65% of members voting against the bill. In the case of salmon, public opinion is so strongly against the idea that unlabelled GM salmon would be sold to Canadians that several major grocery chains have stated they have no intention of selling GM salmon.
NFU-NB President, Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson says, “Although not an ‘agricultural crop’, the GM salmon may be setting the standard for what is to come in terms of genetic modification of living food sources which would have a huge impact not only on consumers but on farmers as we have seen with the development of other GM crops.”
The NFU-NB will be holding it’s annual general meeting on April 10th in Fredericton where farmers and participants will have an opportunity to discuss threats to their livelihoods. The theme, « Ensuring farmers rights at home and abroad » will touch on the newly adopted UN declaration on the rights of peasants as well as they ways in which NB farmers’ rights may be under threat due to attacks on seeds, a failure to protect agricultural land and a disconnect with eaters.
Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson, NFU-NB President