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CFIA issues final decision on gene-edited crops for feed

May 8, 2024  by Manure Manager

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published the third and final update on the rules for gene-edited crops, in a decision being praised by Canadian grain industry.

Section 1.9, Basis for the proposed guidance, states the key messages that are of most concern to producers:

“The CFIA’s opinion of the scientific literature is that gene editing technologies do not pose unique risks of harm to human or animal health or the environment compared to other plant breeding technologies,” the guidance states. “As a result, feed ingredients derived from gene-edited plants are regulated like all other products of plant breeding under the Feeds Act and Feeds Regulations, with regulation based on the traits or characteristics of the product, regardless of its development method.”

This decision, initiated in 2018, means gene-edited plants will be treated the same as traditionally bred varieties and cultivars, from a regulatory standpoint.


“The regulatory guidance aligns Canada’s regulations with our trading partners, ensuring Canadian farmers remain competitive globally. It is based on rigorous, science-driven assessments that guarantee the safety and efficacy of gene-edited crops,” according to a press release from the Grain Growers of Canada.

“This progress opens doors to innovation in Canadian agriculture, enabling the introduction of gene-edited crops that meet pressing agricultural challenges like drought, pests, and diseases, while enhancing nutritional quality,” says Andre Harpe, chair of Grain Growers of Canada, in the press release. “The updated guidance enables us to use the latest innovation in plant technology to produce nutritious and affordable food for Canadians and our international customers.”

Other commodity groups expressed similar sentiments through website statements and press releases.

“Today’s guidance is an important milestone in unlocking the next generation potential for innovation and growth in the Canadian canola industry,” said Chris Davison, president and CEO of the Canola Council of Canada, in a press release. “As Canada continues its work to feed and fuel the world, plant breeding innovation will play an increasingly important role in developing even more productive and resilient canola crops.”

“Cereals Canada views the final piece of updated Canadian policy clarifying the regulatory pathway for gene edited plants, as a positive advancement in plant breeding innovation,” said Krista Zuzak, director, crop Protection and production at Cereals Canada. “The finalized CFIA guidance on livestock feed will support research and development of new varieties that use gene editing to enhance traits such as drought, pest and disease resistance, and input use efficiency among others.”

For more information, read the full guidance here.


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