Herbicide-Tolerant Rice – HPHI2 Event (Provisia®)

In 2014, Health Canada received a submission to allow the sale of HPHI2 (commercial name: Provisia®) rice, a genetically modified herbicide tolerant line that was produced by spontaneous mutagenesis and selection. This rice is tolerant to two groups of herbicides (FOP and DIM) used to control grass weeds.

The science behind Provisia® rice is quite simple. A single change was introduced into a rice gene which allows this rice variety to survive in the presence of herbicides used to control grass weeds. In every other way, Provisia® rice is identical to any other rice.

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 change made to the rice did not pose a greater risk to human health than rice currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that Provisia® rice would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of Provisia® rice compared to other traditional rice varieties available for consumption.

Health Canada's assessment of Provisia® rice was conducted according to the Guidelines for 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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