(Oct. 2) The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is gathering industry input during October on a draft regulatory proposal from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that could affect exports of genetically modified fruits and vegetables from Canada, according to Marie-Claude Thibault, director of health and food safety for the CPMA.

Canada is considering ratifying the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Should it do so — action on that point is expected within the next few months — a regulatory initiative would be required to implement Canada’s international obligations under the agreement. The CFIA is seeking views on the draft proposal; the text of the protocol can be found on the Web at www.biodiv.org/biosafety/protocol.asp.

Under the protocol, the requirements for food engineered with biotechnology include a risk assessment and identification and description of the genetic manipulation used. The regulations may be necessary to export genetically modified organisms to countries that have signed the protocol. However, Thibault indicated the U.S. has not signed the agreement so Canada’s shipments to the U.S. are not in question.

At the same time, she said that Canada has approved certain genetically modified fruits and vegetables for importation, including squash, potato, tomato and corn varieties. Canadian imports of gentetically modied food must undergo tests on food safety and environmental impact before approval.

For questions on the issue, contact Marie-Claude Thibault, director of health and food safety for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Ottawa. Her number is (613) 226-4187, ext. 225.