Consultation on the Proposed Domestic Policy and Implementation Framework for the Management of Low-Level Presence (LLP) of Genetically Modified Crops in Imports

The Government of Canada is seeking input on the Proposed Domestic Policy and Implementation Framework, hereafter the Policy and Framework, for the management of low-level presence (LLP) of genetically modified (GM) crops imported into Canada through a 75-day consultation. The consultation is open for comment starting November 6, 2012 until January 19, 2013.

The objective of the Policy and Framework is to provide transparency and predictability for importers and to minimize trade disruptions while protecting the health and safety of people, animals and the environment. It is also intended to facilitate an efficient risk-based approach to manage an expected increase in occurrences of LLP in international trade, while promoting compliance with Canadian regulatory requirements.

Background

Once a GM crop is authorized for commercial use in a country, trace amounts of that crop may become mixed with other varieties of crops in that country or during transit. As a result, a GM crop that is authorized in an exporting country may be present at low levels in grain, food and feed shipments that are imported into another country where the GM crop is not authorized. This in turn would result in a LLP occurrence. It is important to note that Canada has not had any LLP occurrences to date.

In Canada, safety assessments and authorizations are required before a GM crop can be used as food, feed or seed. Under the current policy, if LLP was detected in Canadian food, feed or seed, an evaluation of the risk associated with the non-compliance would be conducted and the appropriate risk management actions would be taken to return the situation back to regulatory compliance. This can include such enforcement activities as establishing corrective action plans with the developer of the product, mandatory product recalls, or legal action against offending parties.

The enforcement actions taken when LLP is detected can lead to disruptions to trade and increased costs to industry and governments, for both imports and exports. Such disruptions and costs occur even when LLP occurrences are unlikely to pose a risk to human and animal health and to the environment.

Recognizing the importance of this issue, the Government of Canada has undertaken a review of Canada's current policy for managing LLP. As part of this process, the Government of Canada conducted a targeted stakeholder consultation in the fall of 2011 to receive feedback on a suite of proposed policy approaches for the management of LLP. Comments received from these consultations informed the development of the proposed Policy and Framework that is now being consulted on.

Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of foods sold in Canada. The Department has supported Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in the development of this proposed Policy and Framework to manage LLP.

How to participate

For more information on the proposed policy and associated framework, or to provide comments to AAFC during the consultation period, please see the proposed Domestic Policy and Framework on Low Level Presence (LLP) for the Management of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops in Imports.

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