Cites for "Need Safeguards for Gene-Tinkered Foods"
rwinder at PFC.Forestry.CA
Tue Jun 29 11:34:27 EST 1993
In article <C9CwKq.2M7 at cunews.carleton.ca>, wcsbeau at superior.carleton.ca
>In article <1993Jun28.115711.11388 at nstn.ns.ca> dc_ags at ac.nsac.ns.ca writes:
>>In article <C97sr8.LHG at cunews.carleton.ca>, wcsbeau at superior.carleton.ca
>>>In addition, Cummins sent along some other information including an
>>>example of what he called a "typical trial approval from Agriculture
>>>Canada". Condition #7 says "no alfalfa will be grown after the site
>>>for 3 years after the harvest." Condition #8 says "all volunteer
>>>plants will be destroyed before setting seed following the test",
>>>and condition #9 is "no seed or harvested plant matter will enter
>>>human or livestock food/feed chains". Cummins says that this points
>>>out that AgCan realizes the risk of gene transfers.
The fact that Canadian guidelines are generally more strict than, say,
U.S. guidelines is not necessarily indicative of a greater realization
of risk. Even endemic, unaltered biocontrol tests face stiffer scrutiny.
The usual process for Canada is to modify U.S. guidelines after hasty input
from the Canadian scientific community. Since a smaller country has
a harder time regulating the diverse array of proposals out there, it
will usually opt for a more conservative approach. Also, the regulators
in this country tend to be bureaucratic in their approach (I have seen many
of them happily admit that they do not fully understand what they are
regulating- that's the job of the scientist!). The upshot of it all is
that different things keep getting tacked on to guidelines until we
achieve the kind of strict regulation that Canada is famous for. I wouldn't
read too much into this strictness, other than political reality.
>>You say that the document you cite is a `typical trial approval'...
>>couldn't it be that AgCan has a general set of guidelines vis-a-vis
>>research projects and that these are some of them? I disagree
>>with Dr. Cummins' conclusion. The fact that AgCan has a framework of
>>established guidelines for researchers only points out the fact that
>>AgCan recognizes that *no* research materials should be allowed to
>>escape control... just common sense, I would think... and not
>>necessarily a case for the dangers of biotechnology.
As I said, researchers helped develop these guidelines. I agree that
this is not proof that the materials aren't safe. More likely,
concrete safety measures had to be proposed, or regulators would dream
up something really nasty and impose it themselves. To imply that
public fears are justifying public fears is circular reasoning.
>This is certainly possible; I live not far from AgCan's Experimental
>Farm (right in the middle of Ottawa), and they appear to follow those
>conditions often, if not always. Someone from AgCan should answer this.
I can't speak for Ag Canada or gene-altered crops. But similiar guidelines
are strictly adhered to in biocontrol tests. If the guidelines are not
followed, it is important to remember that the same regulators will be
in charge of approval for marketing, and they will remember. -RSW
Disclaimer: I do not speak for Forestry Canada or Agriculture Canada or
the Government of Canada. Any similarity of opinion must be a coincidence.
RICHARD WINDER Title: Visiting Fellow
Forestry Canada Phone: (604) 363-0600
Victoria, B.C. Internet: RWINDER at A1.PFC.Forestry.CA
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