Highly Refined DHA-Enhanced Oil Derived from NS-B50027-4 Canola

In 2017, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of highly refined oil made from a genetically modified (GM) canola variety referred to as NS-B5ØØ27-4 canola. This canola variety has been genetically modified to produce the fatty acid docosohexaenoic acid (DHA) in the seeds of the plant.

In order to determine whether the highly refined oil made from this GM canola variety could be sold in Canada as food, the scientists at Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment that ensured the highly refined oil from this variety is safe for consumption. Our scientists also needed to assess how this GM canola variety was developed and whether the highly refined oil can be toxic or cause allergic reactions.

Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results.

Following this assessment, it was determined that the changes made to this GM canola variety do not pose a greater risk to human health than canola varieties currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that highly refined oil made from this GM canola variety would have no impact on allergies, and that (with the exception of the change to the fatty acids in the plant seeds) there are no other differences in the nutritional value of this GM canola variety compared to other traditional canola varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of NS-B5ØØ27-4 canola and the highly refined oil made from this variety was conducted according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. The approach taken by Health Canada in the safety assessment of GM foods is based upon scientific principles developed through expert international consultation over the last 20 years with agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The approach taken by Canada is currently applied by regulatory agencies around the world in countries such as the European Union, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.

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