Mar 12, 2023
By Jeremy Logan
Until it takes additional steps to assure that genetically modified animals won’t harm their wild counterparts, environmental organization Nature Canada is urging the federal government to halt the approval of any new genetically modified animals.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault faces a Friday deadline to authorize a genetically engineered fruit fly submitted by an Edmonton company or he could delay the approval up to four months.
The fruit fly, also called an EntoEngine, can produce a significant amount of cell proteins for use in manufacturing medications and lab-grown meat.
Mark Butler, an advisor with Nature Canada, says the application needs to be suspended because Canada hasn’t adequately evaluated the risks to wild animals if genetically-modified versions escape or are accidentally released.
To date, Canada has authorized one genetically modified salmon that is no longer being bred here, and 17 different types of engineered glow-in-the-dark aquarium fish.
The tropical GloFish are not known to be a threat to wild Canadian species but Butler says they have escaped and started breeding in Brazil, which should be a warning that genetically modified animals could pose serious harm.