Transcript: Agricultural Biotech at Home and Abroad | Sep 18, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Agricultural biotech at home and abroad. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says A EUROPEAN COURT
RECENTLY RULED THAT GENE-EDITED
FOODS WILL BE TREATED THE SAME
WAY THAT EUROPE TREATS
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS,
OR GMOS.
THAT MEANS NEW CROPS, SUCH AS
EDITED VERSIONS OF SOYBEANS AND
WHEAT THAT ARE TOUTED AS
"HEALTH-FOCUSED INNOVATIONS,"
WILL FACE SAFETY AND LABELLING
REGULATIONS IN MANY EU
COUNTRIES.
HOW SHOULD CANADA PROCEED IN
THIS NEW FOOD BIOTECH LANDSCAPE?
LET'S GET INTO THIS:
IN HALIFAX, NS, LUCY SHARRATT
JOINS US. SHE'S COORDINATOR OF
THE CANADIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY
ACTION NETWORK...

Lucy is in her forties, with short curly blond hair in a bun. She's wearing a gray blazer and black shirt.

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO:
CRYSTAL MACKAY, PRESIDENT,
CANADIAN CENTRE FOR FOOD INTEGRITY...

Crystal is in her forties, with long straight blond hair.

Steve continues AND IAN AFFLECK, VP PLANT
BIOTECHNOLOGY AT THE TRADE
ASSOCIATION, CROPLIFE CANADA.

Ian is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair. He's wearing a gray suit and blue shirt.

Steve continues AND WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
YOU TWO TO OUR PROGRAM.
YOU AGAIN, BUT ACTUALLY HERE FOR
THE FIRST TIME, WHICH IS NICE.
LUCY, GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON AGAIN
AS WELL.
I'M NOT GOING TO ASSUME THAT
EVERYBODY WHO'S WATCHING US
RIGHT NOW IS AN AGRIFOOD
BIOTECHNOLOGY INNOVATIVE EXPERT,
AND SO WE THOUGHT THIS HANDY
DANDY LITTLE ONE-MINUTE
EXPLAINER ON WHAT WE'RE GOING
TO TALK ABOUT MIGHT BE USEFUL.
SHELDON, GO.

An animated clip plays on screen. In the clip, three people hold a banana, a corncob and a red apple.

A female announcer says YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THIS, BUT
EVERY DAY YOU REAP THE BENEFITS
OF PLANT BREEDING.
IN FACT, MUCH OF WHAT YOU EAT
COULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT IT.

In a forest, ancient people plant wheat.

The announcer continues PLANT BREEDING STARTED MANY
THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO WHEN
PEOPLE FIRST DOMESTICATED WILD
PLANTS.
BY SELECTING THE BEST PLANTS AND
BREEDING THEM OVER TIME, ANCIENT
FARMERS CULTIVATED CROPS THAT
WERE EVER TASTIER, MORE
NUTRITIOUS AND MORE RESILIENT.

Near a castle, peasants harvest wheat. A monk examines the wheat with a magnifying glass.

The announcer continues AS SCIENTISTS BEGAN TO DISCOVER
HOW PLANT CHARACTERISTICS ARE
PASSED FROM ONE GENERATION TO
THE NEXT, THEY LAID THE
FOUNDATION FOR OUR MODERN
UNDERSTANDING OF PLANT GENETICS.
AS THE YEARS WENT BY,
SCIENTISTS' UNDERSTANDING OF
AGRICULTURE CONTINUED TO
PROGRESS.

The monk performs experiments.

The announcer continues IN THE 20TH CENTURY WE MADE
INCREDIBLE BREAKTHROUGHS IN
UNDERSTANDING THE MECHANICS OF
GENETICS, DNA, THE GENETIC CODE
AND HOW TO READ WHOLE GENOMES.

Scientists study DNA in a lab.

The announcer continues EACH ADVANCE INCREASED THE
EFFICIENCY OF BREEDING BETTER
CROPS.

The clip ends.

Steve says OKAY, IAN, GET US
STARTED TO HELP US UNDERSTAND
THIS BETTER.
ADJUSTING THE GENETICS OF CROPS.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON
TECHNIQUES USED?

The caption changes to "The plant breeding toolkit."

Ian says SOME OF THE MOST COMMON IN THE CONVENTIONAL SPACE ARE JUST
CROSSING TWO PLANTS TO TRY TO
GET THE DESIRED CHARACTERISTIC
OF ONE TO MOVE INTO THE OTHER OR TO CREATE SOMETHING DESIRABLE.
THERE'S ALSO MUTAGENESIS,
WHICH IS PART OF THIS GENE
EDITING CONVERSATION THAT WE'RE HAVING.

Steve says MUTAGENESIS.
DO YOU WANT TO USE YOUR FUNNY
LINE NOW?

Crystal says THAT'S WHEN PETER GABRIEL
LEFT THE BAND?

Ian says IT WOULD BE EARLY... BUT IT'S
COMMONLY USED IN BREEDING
PROGRAMS ACROSS THE SCALE, AND
THEN THERE'S THE RDNA, WHICH IS
GMOS, WHICH IS COMMONLY TALKED
ABOUT.
AND THEN WE GET TO GENE EDITING,
WHICH IS A WHOLE OTHER SUITE OF TOOLS.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT THEM AS
DIFFERENT DRAWERS IN THE TOOL
BOX OF A PLANT BREEDER, THEY ARE
PICKING AND CHOOSING FROM ALL
THESE DIFFERENT DRAWERS AND
USING THAT ALONGSIDE COMPUTING
TECHNOLOGY AND STATISTICS.

Steve says AND HOW MUCH OF WHAT'S
GOING ON IN ONTARIO RIGHT NOW
WOULD YOU SAY IS AFFECTED IN
THIS WAY SOME HOWE?

Ian says I THINK THE THINGS TALKED
ABOUT THE MOST, CANOLA, CORN AND
SOYBEAN
SOYBEAN, AND THEY ALL HAVE GMOS,
AND THAT'S USED IN ABOUT 80 TO
90 percent OF ALL CORN, SOYBEAN AND
CANOLA ACREAGE WHERE FARMERS
HAVE ADOPTED THOSE TECHNOLOGIES
BECAUSE OF THE BENEFITS THEY
PROVIDE.

Steve says SO WE MAY NOT KNOW IT,
BUT IT'S HAPPENING OUT THERE A
LOT.

Ian says IT'S DEFINITELY HAPPENING OUT
THERE A LOT, AND I THINK IT'S
THERE TO BE KNOWN, AND WE'RE
TRYING TO HELP EDUCATE IN THAT
SPACE.

Steve says LET'S DO ANOTHER CLIP
HERE JUST TO GET EVERYBODY UP TO
SCRATCH.
JENNIFER DUDENA, ONE OF THE
CREATORS OF THE CRISPR GENE
EDITING TECHNIQUE.
HERE SHE EXPLAINS A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT HOW THAT WORKS.
SHELDON, THANK YOU.

A clip plays in which a blond woman wearing a lab coat talks to different people including students in a lab.

A female voice Says FOR A LONG TIME THAT ONCE
WE UNDERSTOOD THE DNA SEQUENCE
IN CELLS, IF WE HAD A TOOL THAT
WOULD ALLOW EASY MANIPULATION OF
THAT SEQUENCE, THAT THAT WOULD
BE A VERY POWERFUL KIND OF
TECHNOLOGY.

In animation, a three-dimensional strand of DNA spins as an acronym forms: CRISPR: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

The female voice says
CRISPR IS A TECHNOLOGY FOR
CHANGING THE SEQUENCE OF DNA AND
CELLS IN A PRECISE FASHION.
SO THE WAY THE CRISPR
TECHNOLOGY WORKS IS BY THE
ACTION OF A PROTEIN CALLED KAS 9
THAT FUNCTIONS LIKE A MOLECULAR
SCALPEL FOR DNA.

A molecule cuts the strand of DNA.

The blond woman faces the screen and says
IT'S A VERY, VERY EXCITING
TECHNOLOGY THAT'S GOING TO DO A
LOT OF GOOD IN HUMAN SOCIETY AND
FOR HUMAN HEALTH.
IT STRETCHES FROM HUMAN
THERAPEUTICS TO AGRICULTURAL
APPLICATIONS TO THINKING ABOUT
HOW DO WE MAKE BETTER BIOFUEL.

The clip ends.

Steve says OKAY.
AND, IAN, ONE MORE TIME, THESE
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND HOW THEY
MIGHT AFFECT WHAT WE SEE ON OUR
GROCERY SHELVES.

The caption changes to "Ian Affleck. Croplife Canada."

Ian says I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF
GREAT OPPORTUNITIES THAT THIS
TOOL PROVIDES THE PLANT BREEDER
AND THEY CAN PULL IT OUT OF THAT
TOOL BOX.
I THINK WE'LL SEE MORE PRODUCTS
THAT ARE FOCUSED ON SOME
CONSUMER DEMANDS, WHETHER IT BE
HOW LONG THINGS LAST ON THE
SHELF, HIGHER NUTRIENT VALUES OR
THERE'S A COMPANY IN THE U.S.
CALLED KALEX THAT'S WORKING ON
SOME HIGH-FIBRE WHEAT, SO IT
WILL BE EASIER FOR A CONSUMER TO
GET THEIR FIBRE INTAKE IN A DAY
WITHOUT HAVING TO ALTER THE DIET
THAT THEY WERE GOING TO EAT.
THEY'LL JUST HAVE MORE
HIGH-FIBRE FOODS.
I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF
OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS TO PROVIDE
THOSE BENEFITS, AND ALSO TO
PROVIDE CONTINUED BENEFITS TO
THE FARMER THAT'S ALWAYS LOOKING
FOR WAYS TO FARM MORE
SUSTAINABLY AND EFFICIENTLY ON
THEIR FARM, WHETHER IT'S ONTARIO
OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

Steve says HERE IS WHAT CHEMICAL
AND ENGINEERING NEWS HAS TO SAY
ABOUT THIS...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Faster, easier, cheaper." The quote reads "Using CRISPR to add -or remove- a plant trait is faster, more precise, easier, and in most cases cheaper than either traditional breeding techniques or older genetic engineering methods."
Quoted from Melody M. Bomgardner, Chemical and Engineering News. June 12, 2017.

Steve says OKAY.
CRYSTAL, LET ME GET YOU TO WEIGH
IN ON THIS NOW. HOW IMPORTANT
IS THIS DISCUSSION IS THE
THE CLAIM THAT GENE EDITING IN
MOST CASES IS THE LESS COSTLY
WAY TO CHANGE A PLANT'S
CHARACTERISTICS?

The caption changes to "Crystal Mackay. Canadian Centre for Food Integrity."

Crystal says WELL, A BIG-PICTURE GOAL IS
TO FEED PEOPLE, RIGHT?
WE'RE IN THE BUSINESS OF FEEDING
PEOPLE FIRST AND CARING FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLY MORE
FOOD LESS LAND.
SO THE OPPORTUNITIES WITH
TECHNOLOGY LIKE CRISPR TO GIVE
PEOPLE HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE FOOD
AND MORE OF IT EFFICIENTLY IS
WIN-WIN ON BOTH SIDES.

Steve says IS THERE ANY DOWNSIDE
TO WHAT WE'RE DESCRIBING SO FAR?

Crystal says WELL, LIKE ALL NEW
TECHNOLOGY, OUR NUMBER ONE
PRIORITY IS TO MAKE SURE THAT
IT'S SAFE, RIGHT?
SO THE END PRODUCT, WHAT I FEED
MY CHILDREN, I NEED TO BE SURE
THAT'S SAFE.
SO I THINK IN CANADA WE HAVE AN
EXTREMELY RESPONSIBLE REGULATORY
SYSTEM.
SO AS LONG AS THE END PRODUCT IS
SAFE, IF WE GO BACK TO IAN'S
ANALOGY OF THERE'S A TOOL KIT OF
OPTIONS ON HOW WE GET TO THAT
FOOD PRODUCT, I WANT TO KNOW
THAT THE FOOD AT THE END OF THE
SUPPLY CHAIN IS SAFE FOR ME AND
MY FAMILY.
AND ONCE WE KNOW THAT, THEN OF
COURSE THERE'S MANY OTHER
ELEMENTS, SUCH AS ENVIRONMENT,
ET CETERA, THAT WE WILL LOOK AT.

Steve says LUCY, LET ME GET YOU
IN AT THIS POINT HERE.
DO YOU THINK GENE EDITING IS A
BETTER APPROACH TO IMPROVING OUR
FOOD SUPPLY?

The caption changes to "Lucy Sharratt. Canadian Biotechnology Action Network."

Lucy says WELL, THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT
THIS IS A POWERFUL NEW SET OF
TECHNIQUES OF GENETIC
ENGINEERING, AND IT'S VERY
EXCITING SCIENCE IN THE LAB, BUT
I THINK IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE TO
TRANSFER THAT EXCITEMENT AND
THAT NEW UNDERSTANDING BECAUSE
IT STILL DOES HAVE LIMITATIONS
TOO QUICKLY INTO A TECHNOLOGY IN
THE FIELD.
AND THIS IS WHAT WE SAW WITH
GENETIC ENGINEERING BEFORE NOW,
AND WE ALSO WANT TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE'RE NOT OVERHYPING THE
TECHNOLOGY.
CERTAINLY WE MIGHT SEE A LOT
MORE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
PLANTS AND ANIMALS.
WE NEED TO HAVE A BIGGER
DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER WE NEED
THESE OR WHAT USE THESE NEW
PLANTS AND ANIMALS WILL ACTUALLY
SERVE.
AND WHO OWNS THEM.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION ABOUT HOW
THE TECHNOLOGY IS USED?

Steve says YOU SAY THERE ARE
LIMITATIONS TO WHAT WE'VE BEEN
DESCRIBING SO FAR.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THOSE
LIMITATIONS?

Lucy says WELL, THERE'S STILL A LOT OF SCIENCE TO BE DONE ABOUT WHAT IT
MEANS WHEN WE ARE GENETICALLY
ENGINEERING THESE ORGANISMS,
EVEN WITH THESE NEW TECHNIQUES.
CERTAINLY THE TECHNIQUES SUCH AS
CRISPR KAS CAN BE USED TO MAKE
NEW CHARACTERISTICS IN
ORGANISMS, AND THERE'S A NEW
LEVEL OF PRECISION IN WHERE THAT
CUT IN THE DNA CAN BE MADE, BUT
THERE'S A LOT MORE RESEARCH
ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS WHEN THAT
CUT IS MADE.
THE REPAIR MECHANISM OF THE
ORGANISM IS NOW IN CHARGE, AND A
LOT CAN HAPPEN.
THERE CAN BE UNINTENDED EFFECTS,
AND THIS IS THE ROLE OF
REGULATION.
THIS IS WHY REGULATION FOR
SAFETY IS SO IMPORTANT, BUT IT'S
ALSO WHY WE NEED TO MAKE SURE
THAT IF WE'RE USING THIS
TECHNOLOGY THAT IT'S ALSO
NECESSARY.
IT'S NOT THE ONLY TECHNOLOGY
AVAILABLE TO US TO CREATE PLANTS
AND ANIMALS THAT WE MAY WANT AND NEED.

Steve says LET'S INTRODUCE ONE
MORE VOICE TO OUR DISCUSSION
HERE TONIGHT ON TVO.
IN SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, WE
WELCOME STUART SMYTH.
HE IS THE AGRIFOOD INNOVATION
CHAIR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
SASKATCHEWAN...

Stuart is in his fifties, balding, with a gray handlebar mustache. He's wearing glasses and a printed gray polo shirt.

Steve continues AND STUART WE ARE GLAD YOU COULD JOIN US.
PERHAPS YOU COULD WEIGH IN ON
WHERE YOU ARE FOR THE DEBATE.

The caption changes to "Stuart Smyth. University of Saskatchewan."

Stuart says THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION
TO PARTICIPATE TODAY.
I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO
THIS.
IT'S A REALLY EXCITING TIME IN
SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE, AND I
THINK GENOME EDITING OFFERS A
VAST POTENTIAL TO DO VERY
TARGETED CHANGES TO PLANT
VARIETIES THAT ARE GONNA HELP
VARIETIES COPE IN THE RAPIDLY
CHANGING ENVIRONMENT FACING
GLOBAL WARMING.
SO I THINK THAT PLANT BREEDERS
HAVE AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY
AT HAND TO MAKE REALLY QUICK
CHANGES THAT CAN HELP BOTH
FARMERS PRODUCE HIGH LEVEL OF
YIELDS AND KEEP FOOD PRICES
STABLE AND CONSTANT THROUGH
ENSURING THAT THERE IS ADEQUATE
AMOUNTS OF WORLD TO FEED THE
WORLD, AS CRYSTAL WAS SAYING
EARLIER.

Steve says YOU HEARD WHAT LUCY
HAD TO SAY ABOUT SOME OF HER
CONCERNS.
DO YOU SHARE ANY OF HER
CONCERNS?

Stuart says NO, NOT REALLY, BECAUSE WE HAVE FANTASTIC SCIENTISTS
REGULATING THE TECHNOLOGY IN
CANADA, AND THEY HAVE BEEN DOING
SO FOR 30 YEARS, THE DEVELOPMENT
OF THE REGULATORY SYSTEM IN
CANADA STARTED IN 1988, AND
THERE HASN'T BEEN A SINGLE
DOCUMENTED ISSUE OF ANY SAFETY
CONCERNS.
SO I THINK THIS TIME WE NEED TO
DIAL THE REGULATIONS BACK.
THIS IS JUST GENE SPECIFIC
MUTAGENESIS, AND WE HAVE BEEN
USING THAT SO DEVELOP CROP
VARIETY SINCE THE 1930S.
SO TO ARGUE FOR MORE REGULATIONS
NOW IS JUST A WAY OF PREVENTING
INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE, WHICH
IS REALLY FRUSTRATING FROM A
SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE.

Steve says LUCY, GOT TO LET YOU COMMENT ON THAT BEFORE WE GO ON.

Lucy says WELL, I THINK ACTUALLY
REGULATION ENABLES INNOVATION.
IF WE'RE REALLY GOING TO INVEST
IN THE FUTURE FOR GENE EDITING,
THEN IN FACT THE TECHNIQUES, THE
PRODUCTS NEED TO BE REGULATED
PROPERLY AND MORE TRANSPARENTLY.
WE NEED MORE PUBLIC SCIENCE AND
WE NEED MORE INDEPENDENT
SCIENCE, AND THIS IS JUST A
BENEFIT TO THE ONGOING
SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OR
ONGOING UNDERSTANDING OF HOW
GENETICS WORK.

Steve says LUCY, LET ME GET YOU
TO FOLLOW UP WITH SOMETHING WE
MENTIONED RIGHT AT THE VERY TOP
OF OUR DISCUSSION, WHICH WAS
THIS COURT RULING IN EUROPE, THE
EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE, WHICH
RULED THAT GENE EDITED FOOD
PRODUCTS, WHAT WE'VE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT SO FAR, ARE GOING
TO BE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER
AS THEY HAVE BEEN TREATED GMOS,
OR GENETICALLY MODIFIED
ORGANISMS.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE COURT
DECIDED TO TREAT THOSE TWO
THINGS IN THE SAME WAY?

The caption changes to "Lucy Sharratt, @biotechaction."
Then, it changes again to "Future bound."

Lucy says WELL, THE EUROPEAN COURT OF
JUSTICE WAS JUST FOLLOWING THE
DEFINITION OF GMO, GENETICALLY
MODIFIED ORGANISMS, IN EUROPE,
WHICH IS THIS ALTERING OF
GENETIC MATERIAL IN A WAY THAT
DOESN'T OCCUR NATURALLY BY
MATING OR NATURAL RECOMBINATION.
AND WE'RE USING THE TERMS
GENETIC MODIFICATION AND GENETIC
ENGINEERING INTERCHANGEABLY
HERE.
SO EUROPE REALLY THIS COURT
DECISION JUST MEANS THAT AS NEW
TECHNIQUES OF GENETIC
ENGINEERING, THESE GENE EDITED
TECHNIQUES, WILL BE REGULATED AS
SUCH.
AND IT NOW MEANS THAT, YOU KNOW,
CANADA NEEDS TO BE A BIT MORE
EXPLICIT IN HOW WE... AT LEAST
FOR THE EXPORT MARKET... DEFINE
AND TRACE THESE TECHNOLOGIES.
OF COURSE THEY'RE NOT LABELLED
FOR CANADIANS, BUT IT DOES HAVE
IMPLICATIONS NOW IN THE U.S.,
FOR EXAMPLE.
THERE IS NO REGULATION OF GENE
EDITED PRODUCTS OR GENETIC
ENGINEERING SPECIFICALLY, AT
LEAST FOR ENVIRONMENTAL
PURPOSES, AND SO NORTH AMERICA
NOW HAS TO CATCH UP WITH THE
TECHNOLOGY.
AND THIS IS ALWAYS THE CASE,
THAT REGULATION LAGS BEHIND THE
TRANSFORMATION OF A NEW SCIENCE
INTO TECHNOLOGY IN THE FIELD.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says STUART, HOW WOULD YOU
INTERPRET THE COURT'S DECISION?

The caption changes to "Stuart Smyth, @stuartsmyth66."

Stuart says WELL, I THINK IT'S GOING TO
DRIVE THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF
AGRICULTURE R and D OUT OF EUROPE.
20 YEARS AGO EUROPE RECEIVED ONE
THIRD OF THE GLOBAL AG R and D
INVESTMENT AND TWO YEARS AGO IT
WAS DOWN TO LESS THAN 9 percent.
IT'S GREAT NEWS FOR CANADA AND
NORTH AMERICA BECAUSE WE GET ALL
THEIR TOP SCIENTISTS, THEIR PHD
STUDENTS AND RESEARCH
LABORATORIES ARE MOVING FROM
EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS AND
UNIVERSITIES TO CANADIAN AND
AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES.
SO I THINK THIS IS JUST REALLY
GOING TO SLAM THE DOOR ON THE
REMAINING LITTLE BIT OF AG R and D
THAT'S LEFT IN EUROPE, AND IT'S
GREAT NEWS FOR NORTH AMERICA.
IT'S REALLY BAD NEWS FOR
EUROPEAN FARMERS BECAUSE THEY'RE
GOING TO LOSE ACCESS TO NEW
TECHNOLOGIES AND NEW VARIETIES
OF GERM BLAHS.
THAT SIMPLY AREN'T GOING TO BE
DEVELOPED IN EUROPE, BUT FROM A
NORTH AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE, THIS
IS GOOD NEWS, AND WE WANT TO
MAKE SURE THAT OUR REGULATORY
SYSTEM IS AS MINIMAL AS POSSIBLE
BECAUSE IT'S TECHNOLOGY THAT'S
BEEN USED FOR 80 YEARS, AND IT'S
NOT REGULATED NOW AND SO THERE'S
NO NEED TO DEVELOP AN EXTENSIVE
REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR
SOMETHING THAT'S PRESENTLY NOT
REGULATED.

Steve says OKAY, LET ME GET
CRYSTAL'S TAKE ON THIS, THE
IMPACT YOU THINK THE EUROPEAN
COURT DECISION WILL HAVE ON
CANADIAN FARMERS.

Crystal says WELL, I THINK IT INTRODUCES
ANOTHER ELEMENT OF UNCERTAINTY,
RIGHT, WHEN A MAJOR TRADING
PARTNER, AND WE'RE IN A GLOBAL
BREADBASKET, OBVIOUSLY, OF WHICH
CANADA IS A MAJOR PLAYER IN
TERMS OF SUPPLY, NOT POPULATION,
WHEN A MAJOR PLAYER ANNOUNCES
SOMETHING HUGE LIKE THIS IN
TERMS OF A SHIFT AND WHAT THAT
MEANS, IT JUST PUTS A BIG
QUESTION MARK IN FRONT OF
CANADIAN FARMERS.
TO STUART'S POINT, I THINK THE
FACT THAT WE HAVE AMAZING
FARMERS, WE HAVE INNOVATORS, WE
HAVE FARMERS THAT ARE INTERESTED
IN SCIENCE, INVESTING IN IT
THEMSELVES, IN OUR OWN PUBLIC
INSTITUTIONS, THAT'S ALL
POSITIVE, BUT THIS GLOBAL
MARKETPLACE THAT WE LIVE IN,
THIS IS PUTTING A QUESTION MARK
ON IT FOR SURE.

Steve says STUART SEEMS TO THINK
THAT THE... I'M GOING TO MAKE UP
A TERM HERE.
THE AGRI BRAINIACS OF EUROPE ARE
GOING TO BE SO DISAPPOINTED WITH
THAT RESULT THAT THEY'RE GOING
TO COME OVER HERE AND WE'LL BE
THE BENEFICIARIES OF THAT.
DO YOU SEE THAT?

Crystal says WELL, I ACTUALLY SEE THE
SHIFT OF SCIENCE COMING TO NORTH
AMERICA.
I AGREE WITH STUART 100 percent THERE.
I THINK ON THE SCIENCE SIDE,
THAT'S TRUE.
WE ARE FEEDING PEOPLE, AND
FEEDING PEOPLE GLOBALLY.
WE ARE A BIG BREADBASKET HERE IN
COUNTRY.
WE FEED OTHER COUNTRIES.
WHENEVER A MAJOR TRADING PARTNER
PUTS AN ANNOUNCEMENT LIKE THIS
OUT, IT SENDS ALARM BELLS TO
CANADIAN FARMERS TO SAY WHAT'S
THE FUTURE OF OUR EXPORT MARKET.

The caption changes to "Ian Affleck, @CropLifeCanada."

Ian says AND I THINK LUCY IS
ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, THAT THIS IS
A LEGAL INTERPRETATION OF THE
CURRENT WORDING OF THEIR CURRENT
REGULATIONS.
SO THERE'S BEEN NO
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BY THE EU AS TO
WHAT THEIR POLICIES WILL BE IN
THE FUTURE, AND THE TIMELINE IS
NOT EXPECTED TO GET CLARITY ON
THAT UNTIL 2019, MAYBE EVEN
2020.
SO WHAT THAT CREATES IS THIS
UNCERTAINTY IN EUROPE ABOUT HOW
WILL THEY REGULATE THIS AT THE
END OF THE DAY.
WILL THEY ADOPT THIS OPINION
FULL FORCE?
WILL THEY RE-WRITE THE
REGULATIONS TO MAYBE, AS STUART
MENTIONED, TAKE INTO
CONSIDERATION 30 YEARS OF
REGULATORY SCIENCE AND A 60-YEAR
HISTORY OF PLANT BREEDING IN
THIS AREA, AND THEN ADOPT A MORE
RATIONAL APPROACH.
SO OUR FINGERS ARE CROSSED THAT
IT'S THE LATTER, THAT WE'LL SEE
A MORE RATIONAL APPROACH, BUT
THE FEAR IN THE MEANTIME IN THE
SCIENCE COMMUNITY WILL BE
DRIVING THAT INVESTMENT
ELSEWHERE.

Steve says WHILE YOUR FINGERS ARE
CROSSED AND SINCE YOU BROUGHT UP
THE ISSUE OF FEAR, LET ME FOLLOW
UP WITH THIS.
YOU REMEMBER THERE WAS, OF
COURSE, AS THERE STILL IS, A BIG
DEBATE ABOUT HOW MUCH LABELLING
OUGHT TO GO INTO GMO PRODUCTS.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO SWEAR BY
THEM, WHO THINK THEY ARE
ABSOLUTELY SAFE, THINK THERE'S
NO PROBLEM AT ALL, STILL WOULD
RATHER NOT HAVE THE LABELLING ON
THEM BECAUSE THEY SAY THAT
INTRODUCES IN THE MIND OF THE
CONSUMER SOME LEVEL OF SUSPICION
THAT OUGHT NOT TO BE THERE.
ARE WE GOING TO DO THE SAME WITH
GENE EDITED FOODS?
SHOULD WE PUT THE LABEL ON FROM
THE BEGINNING AND IN EFFECT, I
GUESS, TRY TO AVOID SOME OF THE
PROBLEMS THAT HAVE HAPPENED WITH
GMOS?

The caption changes to "Look at the label."

Ian says I THINK THE PUBLIC DEBATE ON
GMOS IS DEFINITELY UNFORTUNATE
WHEN THEY DO PROVIDE THE AMOUNT
OF BENEFITS THAT THEY PROVIDE
AND THE SAFETY THAT'S THERE,
WHICH THEY ARE TESTED BY HEALTH
CANADA, THE CANADIAN FOOD
INSPECTION AGENCY, GOVERNMENTS
AROUND THE WORLD.
GENE EDITING WILL CERTAINLY
UNDERGO A SIMILAR DEBATE, BUT I THINK THE SIMILAR PRINCIPLE
STANDS...

Steve says NO LABELLING THEN?

Ian says I THINK LABELLING SHOULD BE
FOCUSED ON HEALTH AND SAFETY,
WHICH THIS IS NOT, AND YOU DON'T
WANT TO CLUTTER UP LABELS FOR
THE CONSUMER.
IT DOESN'T GIVE THEM INFORMATION
THAT HELPS THEM MAKE SAFE AND
NUTRITIOUS CHOICES.
JUST MORE THINGS TO TRY TO SIFT
THROUGH ON A LABEL.

Steve says LET ME GET LUCY'S TAKE
ON THE OTHER ISSUE OF LABELLING
ON GENE EDITED FOODS AND WHETHER
WE OUGHT TO TAKE THE SAME
APPROACH WE DID WITH GMOS.

Lucy says WELL, ABSOLUTELY.
THESE ARE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
ORGANISMS, AND FOR 20 YEARS
POLLS CONSISTENTLY SHOW THAT
OVER 20 percent OF CANADIANS WANT TO
KNOW WHERE GENETICALLY MODIFIED
FOODS ARE IN GROCERY STORE
SHELVES, FOR WHATEVER REASON
THAT THEY WANT TO HAVE THAT
INFORMATION.

Steve says DO YOU THINK
CONSUMERS, CRYSTAL, WANT THAT
INFORMATION?

The caption changes to "Crystal Mackay, @FoodIntegrityCA."

Crystal says WELL, I'M GOING TO ARGUE BOTH
SIDES JUST TO BE DIFFICULT AND
SAY CONSUMERS WANT TRANSPARENCY
AND ACCURACY IN THEIR FOOD.
I AM SEEING SOME PUSHBACK TO
LABELS, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON,
THAT CANADIANS ARE SAYING WHY
ARE YOU PUTTING GMO-FREE WATER
AND CHARGING ME MORE?
SO WE ARE SEEING A LITTLE
PUSHBACK THERE.
THE CALL FOR OPENNESS AND
TRANSPARENCY, ABSOLUTELY.
THE CHALLENGE IS WHEN WE'RE
DEALING WITH THESE TECHNICAL
TOPICS, TO LUCY'S POINT, YES,
80 percent SAY THEY WANT LABELS ON
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS.
80 percent ALSO SAY THEY WANT LABELS ON
FOODS THAT CONTAIN DNA, WHICH IS
EVERYTHING, OBVIOUSLY.
SO WE'RE DEALING WITH THESE
TECHNICAL TOPICS AND HOW MUCH
SPACE DO YOU PUT ON THE LABEL?
SO MY BUSINESS AT THE CENTRE FOR
FOOD INTEGRITY IS LET'S HAVE AN
OPEN, HONEST AND TRANSPARENT
CONVERSATION WITH CANADIANS AND
GIVE THEM CREDIBLE INFORMATION.
HOW MUCH YOU CAN ACHIEVE ON A
LABEL WHEN WE'RE IN THIS
SCEPTICAL CONSUMER ERA OF I
DON'T WANT TO BE DUPED.
DON'T PUT ON A LABEL TO CHARGE
ME MORE.
THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "SUBSCRIBE TO THE AGENDA PODCASTS: TV
Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says STUART, I GATHER THIS
IS CALLED ABSENCE LABELLING.
PEOPLE DON'T ONLY WANT TO KNOW
WHAT'S IN THE PRODUCT, THEY WANT
TO KNOW WHAT'S NOT IN THE
PRODUCT.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON WHETHER THAT
SHOULD BE DONE FOR GENE EDITED
FOODS?

Stuart says WELL, WHEN YOU ASK CONSUMERS
TO THINK OF A LABEL AND WHAT
PIECE OF INFORMATION IS LACKING,
ONLY ABOUT 3 percent BRING UP GMS.
I THINK IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT
CONSUMERS REALLY WANT SAFE,
NUTRITIOUS AND CHEAP FOOD, AND
CANADA'S DONE AN EXCEPTIONALLY
GOOD JOB OF PROVIDING THAT, AND
SO PROVIDING ADDITIONAL
LABELLING INFORMATION REALLY
DOESN'T GET TO THE POINT.
I THINK IF THEY'RE GOING TO
LABEL FOODS THROUGH GENOME
EDITING THEN THEY NEED TO LABEL
ALL THE ORGANIC FOODS AND PUT
THE PROCESS ON THERE AND SAY IF
THEY WERE DEVELOPED BY CHEMICAL
OR MUTAGENESIS AS WELL.
THEN YOU HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING
FIELD SO CONSUMERS CAN MAKE A
DECISION BASED ON INFORMATION.

Steve says LUCY, IS THAT A FAIR POINT?

Lucy says WELL, NO IT'S NOT.
ORGANIC PRODUCTION IS ALREADY
GOT ITS OWN LABEL, BUT MORE
IMPORTANTLY I DON'T THINK WE CAN
HAVE A GENUINE DISCUSSION ABOUT
EDUCATING CONSUMERS OR PUBLIC
INFORMATION IF, IN FACT, THE
PRODUCTS OF THE TECHNOLOGY ARE
HIDDEN FROM VIEW.
AND THIS IS PARTICULARLY STARK
AT THE MOMENT WHEN CANADIANS ARE
EATING THE WORLD'S FIRST
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ANIMAL, AN
ATLANTIC SALMON, AND MANY PEOPLE
DON'T KNOW IT'S ON THE MARKET.
NO ONE KNOWS WHERE IT IS, AND
IT'S JUST CLEAR THAT PEOPLE HAVE
BEEN ASKING CONTINUALLY FOR THIS
LABELLING.
IT'S JUST ONE WAY THAT THE
TECHNOLOGY IS HIDDEN FROM THE
PUBLIC OR A PUBLIC DEBATE IS
BEING OBSTRUCTED RATHER THAN
ENABLED.
AND REALLY FOR SUCH A POWERFUL
TECHNOLOGY, FOR REALLY SAYING
THAT IT COULD HAVE BENEFITS,
THEN WE NEED TO KNOW WHERE IT IS
AND WE NEED TO HAVE A DISCUSSION
TOGETHER ABOUT IS THIS
TECHNOLOGY NECESSARY?
WHAT IS IT?
OR THE BASIC OF WHERE IS IT.

Steve says IAN, I SHOULD GET YOUR
TAKE ON THIS SO-CALLED ABSENCE
LABELLING AND WHETHER YOU... I MEAN, YOU UNDERSTAND HOW
MARKETING OF FOOD WORKS.
IS IT USEFUL TO MARKET FOOD BY
SAYING WHAT'S NOT IN IT, AS IN
IT'S NON-GMO OR IT'S NOT GENE
EDITED?

Ian says ABSENCE LABELLING IS
EFFECTIVE IN TODAY'S MARKETING
ENVIRONMENT, ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK THE NUMBER OF STICKERS
YOU CAN HAVE ON SOMETHING THAT
SAYS WHAT'S NOT IN IT, IT
SIGNALS AN APPARENT VALUE, WHICH
UNFORTUNATELY MANY TIMES ISN'T
THERE.
BUT I THINK AGAIN I AGREE WITH
TRANSPARENCY.
WE WANT TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC.
HEALTH CANADA RECENTLY DID A
STUDY WHICH SUPPORTS EXACTLY
WHAT LUCY SAID, THAT 80 percent OF THE
PUBLIC WANTS LABELLING, BUT THEY
ASKS THE FOLLOWING QUESTION,
WHICH WAS SO WHY DO YOU WANT
LABELLING?
AND THEY SAID, WELL, WE DON'T
KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GMOS.
SO THE LABEL'S NOT GOING TO GIVE
THEM THE INFORMATION THAT THEY
WANT.
IT'S JUST IF IT'S THE ONLY
OPTION FOR MORE INFORMATION IS A
LABEL THEY'RE ASKING FOR IT.
SO THE KEY HERE, AND I THINK
WITH WHAT CRYSTAL IS DOING, IS
HOW DO WE HAVE THAT CONVERSATION
AND GET THAT INFORMATION OUT?
LIKE WE TALKED AT THE TOP OF THE
SHOW, THAT 90 percent OF SOYBEANS,
CANOLA, CORN ARE BIOTECHNOLOGY,
OR THE ATLANTIC SALMON, THAT'S
WELL PUBLICIZED INFORMATION THAT
IT IS THERE.
NOW THE PRODUCTS AREN'T LABELLED
DIRECTLY, BUT THE INFORMATION IS
THERE AND THE CONVERSATION I
THINK IS HAPPENING, AND IT'S
HAPPENING IN MANY DIFFERENT
FORUMS.

Steve says NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE
HAD AN ARTICLE ABOUT THE HEALTH
BENEFITS OF SOME NEWLY DEVELOPED
CROPS, WHICH INCLUDED THIS
QUOTE. SHELDON, IF YOU WOULDN'T
MIND, LET'S BRING THIS UP...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Who benefits?" The quote reads "Virtually every GM crop on the market is designed to help the farmer who grows it rather than the person who eats it. Now that's starting to change."
Quoted from Michael Le Page, New Scientist. May 26, 2018.

Steve says LET'S WEIGH IN ON THIS.
CRYSTAL, ARE ATTITUDES ABOUT
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
LIKELY TO CHANGE IF THE FOODS
HAVE HEALTH BENEFITS AS OPPOSED
TO FINANCIAL BENEFITS?

The caption changes to "Shifting attitudes, shifting benefits."

Crystal says ABSOLUTELY. YEAH.
WE'VE DONE... WE'VE PROBABLY GOT
10 YEARS' WORTH OF RESEARCH ON
CANADIAN CONSUMERS THAT SHOW IF
YOU CAN SHOW WHAT'S IN IT FOR
ME, LITERALLY IN THIS CASE, I
WANT HEALTHIER FOOD, MORE
CHOICES, WITH BENEFITS, FOR SURE
THAT IS TOP OF MIND.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS WOULD BE
A SECOND, DEFINITELY.
A DISTANT SECOND, I WOULD SAY.

Ian says AND I THINK THAT'S AN AREA
WHERE THE CONSUMER-FOCUSED FOODS
CREATES A CONNECTION WITH THE
CONSUMER TO THE TECHNOLOGY.
THAT'S WHAT'S MISSING IN THE
THINGS THAT ARE FOCUSED ON THE
FARMER.
HOWEVER WE'RE TRYING TO DO A
BETTER JOB OF GETTING OUT TO THE
PUBLIC THAT ALTHOUGH IT'S
DESIGNED, MANY OF THEM, TO HELP
THE FARMER MORE EFFICIENTLY
SUSTAINABLY AND EFFICIENTLY RUN
THEIR OPERATION, THE DOWNSTREAM
EFFECT OF THAT IS A MORE
SUSTAINABLE FARM, LESS
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, MORE
AFFORDABLE PRICES FOR FOOD.
SO THERE IS BENEFITS TO THE
CONSUMER.
IT'S JUST A LITTLE HARDER TO
CREATE THAT CONNECTION AND THE
DIALOGUE THAT LUCY AND CRYSTAL
TALK ABOUT IS HOW WE GET THAT
INFORMATION OUT TO THE PUBLIC,
AND I THINK OVER THE LAST 20
YEARS WE'VE ONLY REALLY STARTED
PUTTING AN EFFORT INTO THAT
PUBLIC COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN IN
RECENT YEARS.

Steve says LUCY'S TAKE ON THIS.
LUCY, IF THE NATURE OF THE
DEBATE CHANGES FROM WHAT'S
FINANCIALLY GOOD FOR THE FARMER
TO WHAT'S ACTUALLY IN THE
INTEREST OF THE HEALTH OF THE
CONSUMER, DOES THAT CHANGE ANY
OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
HERE?

Lucy says WELL, IT COULD, IF CONSUMERS
ALSO KNOW WHERE THOSE PRODUCTS
ARE.
OF COURSE, THEY'LL BE TOLD A
HEALTH BENEFIT OR A HEALTH
CLAIM, BUT NOT THAT THAT PRODUCT
IS A PRODUCT OF GENETIC
ENGINEERING.
AND I THINK WE NEED TO BE A
LITTLE AWARE THAT WE'RE HEARING
ABOUT A PUBLIC CAMPAIGN AND
PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM CROPLIFE,
WHICH OF COURSE REPRESENTS
SYNGENTA AND BAYER, THE BIG
COMPANIES, AND THE CENTRE OF
FOOD INTEGRITY IS ALSO FUNDED BY
THESE COMPANIES, CROPLIFE,
SYNGENTA AND BAYER.
THIS LEVEL OF CONTROL OVER THE
INFORMATION IS A LOT OF THE
SO-CALLED EDUCATION IS HAPPENING
IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE
COMPANIES THAT REALLY ARE
GETTING BIGGER AND BIGGER
THROUGH MERGERS.
THAT IS THE CONTEXT FOR THE
INTRODUCTION OF THIS TECHNOLOGY
IS STILL THAT THERE'S AN AMAZING
UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT OF
CORPORATE CONSOLIDATION IN THE
SEED AND PESTICIDE MARKET.
WE SEE FOUR COMPANIES OWN OVER
HALF OF THE GLOBAL SEED AND
PESTICIDE MARKET.
AND SO WE REALLY NEED MORE
INDEPENDENT, MORE PUBLICLY
FUNDED INFORMATION, AND THAT HAS
TO COME ALONG WITH MANDATORY
LABELLING.

Steve says YEAH, IT'S AN
ABSOLUTELY FAIR POINT TO POINT
OUT WHERE EVERYBODY'S MONEY IS
COMING FROM.
SO LET'S COMPLETE THE CIRCLE.
THE NETWORK WHICH YOU REPRESENT,
WHERE DOES YOUR FUNDING COME
FROM?

Lucy says YES, SO WE GET INDIVIDUAL
DONATIONS, FOUNDATION MONEY, AND
ALSO WE DO GET SOME MONEY FROM
HEALTH FOOD COMPANIES AND SOME
SMALL ORGANIC FOOD COMPANIES.

Steve says OBVIOUSLY I THINK YOU
WANT THE VIEWER TO INFER THAT
BECAUSE MANY CORPORATIONS ARE
FUNDING THEIR ACTIVITIES WE
SHOULD BE SUSPICIOUS OF WHAT
THEY'RE SAYING TODAY.
SHOULD WE BE EQUALLY SUSPICIOUS
OF WHAT YOU'RE SAYING TODAY
BECAUSE OF WHO'S BACKING YOU?

Lucy says YES, I DIDN'T SAY
"SUSPICIOUS."
I THINK WE JUST NEED TO KNOW
THAT THESE COMPANIES HAVE A LOT
OF MONEY, AND WHEN COMPANIES
TALK ABOUT EDUCATION ABOUT THE
TECHNOLOGY AND THEIR PRODUCTS,
THEY'RE DOING SO WHEN CONSUMERS
ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE.
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT
INSTITUTE LABELLING, NOR DOES IT
TRACK WHERE THE TECHNOLOGIES
ARE.
AND SO REALLY THE PUBLIC IS AT A
DISADVANTAGE.
AND IF WE'RE TO FINISH THE
CIRCLE OF TRANSPARENCY, THEN
ALSO, YOU KNOW, DR. SMYTH, ALSO
IN ADDITION TO ALL HIS OTHER
WORK, ALSO HOLDS AN
INDUSTRY-FUNDED AGRI-FOOD
INNOVATION CHAIR, FUNDED BY
SYNGENTA AND BAIR, AND IT'S JUST
PART OF THE REALITY OF THESE NEW
TECHNOLOGIES THAT THE COMPANIES
HAVE MONEY TO SUPPORT RESEARCH.
AND THIS IS WHY WE NEED THE
GOVERNMENT TO BE STEPPING IN AND
PROVIDING MORE MONEY FOR PUBLIC
RESEARCH.
AND I THINK EVERYONE AGREES THAT
WE NEED MORE PUBLICLY FUNDED
RESEARCH, AND THIS WOULD ALSO
ENABLE THE PUBLIC DEBATE THAT IS
JUST HOBBLED BY A LACK OF
INFORMATION, A LACK OF
TRANSPARENCY.

Steve says I HAVE TO LET STUART
COME BACK IN ON THAT.
STUART, I'LL LET YOU IN BY
ASKING YOU TO RESPOND TO THE
ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THE FACT
THAT CORPORATIONS ARE FUNDING
BOTH YOUR CHAIR AND OUR TWO
GUESTS' WORK HERE IN THE STUDIO,
LUCY DOESN'T USE THE WORD
SUSPICIOUS
SUSPICIOUS, BUT I'LL USE IT.
SHOULD WE BE SUSPICIOUS OF WHAT
COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTHS TODAY?

Stuart says NO, MY WORK IS GOVERNED BY RULES.
THERE ARE DOZENS OF RESEARCH
CHAIRS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THERE ARE GUIDELINES ABOUT
CONTROL OVER INFORMATION,
CONTROL OVER DATA, AND I THINK
IT'S JUST TYPICALLY A SCARE
TACTIC BY THOSE OPPOSED TO
INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURE AND IN
SCIENCE MORE BROADLY THAT THESE
TYPES OF CONCERNS WOULD START TO
COME INTO PLAY.
THESE CHAIRS HAVE BEEN AROUND
FOR DECADES WHERE INDUSTRY AND
UNIVERSITIES ARE COLLABORATING
TOGETHER, AND THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT'S ENCOURAGED.

Steve says STUART, SORRY FOR
JUMPING IN, SHE ALSO SAID IT
WOULD BE IN EVERYBODY'S INTEREST
TO SEE MORE PUBLICLY FUNDING OF
RESEARCH IN THIS AREA.
YOU'RE ON SIDE WITH THAT, AREN'T YOU?

Stuart says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
IN AN IDEAL WORLD, WE'D LOVE TO SEE AGRICULTURE CANADA GET MORE FUNDING AND FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR UNIVERSITIES.

Steve says ON THAT NOTE OF
CONSENSUS, THEN, WITH TIME
RUNNING OUT, I'M GOING TO MOVE
ON, STUART, AND LET ME GET YOU
TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF HOW
YOU THINK CANADA'S REGULATORY
SYSTEM IS GOING TO DEAL WITH ALL
OF THIS GENE EDITING FOOD
PRODUCTS THAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

The caption changes to "The Canadian process."

Stuart says I THINK THE DECISION BY THE
U.S.D.A. TO TREAT CRISPR
TECHNOLOGIES AS JUST SIMPLE
PLANT BREEDING IS REALLY THE WAY
FOR CANADA TO GO.
WE HAVE SO MUCH HARMONIZATION
BETWEEN CANADA AND THE STATES
THAT IF CANADA WANTS TO MAINTAIN
ITS HIGH LEVEL OF INNOVATION
INVESTMENT, WE'RE GOING TO NEED
TO ALIGN OUR REGULATORY
GUIDELINES WITH THE U.S.D.A.
DECISION AND JUST TREAT THIS AS
CONVENTIONAL PLANT BREEDING AND
NOT MAKE IT SUBJECT TO
ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS AND TO
ENSURE WE HAVE A LEVEL PLAYING
FIELD WITH THE AMERICANS.
AND CONSUMERS ARE, YOU KNOW,
HAPPILY CONSUMING THE FOOD
THAT'S OUT THERE, SO YOU KNOW, I
THINK LET'S JUST CONTINUE WITH
WHAT WE'VE GOT AND CONSUMERS
HAVE A VERY HIGH LEVEL OF TRUST
IN OUR REGULATORY AGENCIES.
SO THEY KNOW THAT THE PRODUCTS
ON THE MARKET SHELF ARE SAFE.

Steve says LET'S SEE, LUCY, IS
HEALTH CANADA'S TESTING PROCESS ADEQUATE IN YOUR VIEW?

Lucy says WELL, HEALTH CANADA DOES NOT DO ANY TESTING.
NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY TESTS THE
PRODUCTS OF GENETIC ENGINEERING
AS PART OF A REGULATORY PROCESS,
A RISK ASSESSMENT PROCESS.
IN FACT, THE SCIENCE BEHIND
REGULATORY DECISIONS FOR THE
MOST PART IS CONFIDENTIAL
BUSINESS INFORMATION, WHICH
MEANS THAT CANADIANS DO NOT HAVE
ACCESS TO IT.
IT'S INFORMATION PRESENTED TO
THE GOVERNMENT BY THE COMPANIES
OR INSTITUTIONS THAT OWN THE
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
THAT WANTS TO PUT THE FOOD ON
THE MARKET, AND MOST OF THAT
SCIENCE, IF NOT ALL, DEPENDING
ON THE CASE, IS NOT PEER
REVIEWED SCIENCE.
SO IT'S NOT PART OF THE
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE GLOBALLY.
AND AS CRITIQUED BY AN EXPERT
PANEL SO MANY YEARS AGO REALLY
WITHOUT PEER REVIEW IT'S
DIFFICULT TO REALLY SEE THE
INTEGRITY OF THAT SCIENCE, THAT
IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY MEET THE
DEFINITION OF SCIENCE STRICTLY
SPEAKING.

Stuart says IF I REVIEWED EVERY SINGLE STUDY THAT... ALL THE DATA THAT
WAS SUBMITTED BY THE COMPANIES
FOR A DECADE AND AFTER A DECADE
OF RESEARCH, THE CFIA COULD NOT
DETERMINE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
WHAT WAS SUBMITTED ANT WHAT THE
CFIA STUDIES FOUND, SO THEY
FOUND IT WAS A WASTE OF MONEY TO
DUPLICATE THE STUDIES, AND THEY
STOPPED DOING IT.
WE HAVE A DECADE OF CFIA
KNOWLEDGE THAT THE RISK
ASSESSMENT DATA IS ACCURATE AND BANG ON.

Steve says CRYSTAL, LET ME GET
YOUR TAKE ON WHETHER YOU THINK
THE MIX OF HEALTH CANADA'S
INVOLVEMENT, THE CANADIAN FOOD
INSPECTION AGENCY'S INVOLVEMENT,
WHETHER CANADIANS IN GENERAL
HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THAT PROCESS.

Crystal says I WOULD SAY OUR TRUST IN OUR
ACTUAL FOOD GROWN IN CANADA AND
THE PEOPLE THAT GROW IT IS QUITE
STRONG.
THERE'S A BIT OF A QUESTION MARK
AROUND THE TRUST IN GOVERNMENT
AND FOOD SAFETY AND THE PROCESS
AND THE REGULATIONS, MOSTLY
BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW.
SO THE CANADIAN CONSUMER IS
LOOKING FOR I DON'T KNOW ABOUT
THE BACKGROUND ON WHAT IT TAKES,
BUT I WANT TO KNOW THAT THAT
APPLE THAT I'M ABOUT TO EAT IS
SAFE, AND THEY HAVE GOOD TRUST
IN THAT PIECE.
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS A
LOT OF BACKSTORY THAT HAPPENS TO
GET TO THE FOOD.
SO THEY WANT TO KNOW THAT THE
END INSPECTION OF THEIR FOOD
THAT THEY'RE EATING IS SAFE.

Steve says IAN, EVERY NOW AND
THEN WE HAVE SEEN A STORY IN THE
MEDIA ABOUT, YEAH, A PROBLEM,
LISTERIA, WHATEVER.
THIS DOES HAPPEN FROM TIME TO
TIME.
HOW WOULD YOU GAUGE CANADIANS'
CONFIDENCE NOT JUST IN THE
SAFETY OF THE FOOD BUT IN THE
PROCESS BY WHICH IT GETS ON TO
OUR SHELVES?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcasts: tvo.org/theagenda."

Ian says AND I THINK WE DO SEE THOSE
THINGS WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD
SAFETY MATTERS, LIKE LISTERIA.
BUT THAT'S IN AN AREA WHERE
THERE'S A KNOWN RISK, WHERE
THESE FOOD-BORNE ILLNESSES
EXIST.
IN THE 30 YEARS THAT WE'VE HAD
BIOTECHNOLOGY ON THE SHELVES AND
GOING THROUGH THE REGULATORY
SYSTEM, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN NOT
ONLY A PROBLEM WHEN THE PRODUCT
COMES TO MARKET NOR A PROBLEM
FOUND THROUGH THE ASSESSMENTS OF
THE CFIA AND HEALTH CANADA.
AND TO LUCY'S POINT, I THINK
BOTH THE CFIA AND HEALTH CANADA
HAVE BEEN VERY CLEAR THAT WE
DON'T NEED TO TRACK OR LABEL
THESE PRODUCTS BECAUSE ONCE THE
REVIEW IS DONE THEY ARE
CONSIDERED EXACTLY THE SAME AS
EVERYTHING ELSE THAT'S ON THE
SHELF.
AND THEY ARE VERY TRANSPARENT
WITH THAT, AND THEY SPEAK ABOUT
HOW THE REGULATORY SYSTEM WORKS.
SO I THINK THAT INFORMATION IS
OUT THERE, BUT I THINK IT IS AN
UNDERLYING ELEMENT OF... AND
THIS IS A BIT CHALLENGING, WHERE
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
CONVERSATION WE TALKED ABOUT WE
JUST WANT LABELLING TO KNOW
WHERE IT IS.
WHEN I THINK AS WE WENT FURTHER
IN THE CONVERSATION, MANY OF THE
ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE CALLING
FOR THIS ACTUALLY HAVE A LONG
HISTORY OF JUST OPPOSING
INNOVATION IN THAT SPACE.

Steve says I WONDER IF THERE IS
CONSENSUS AMONG THIS GROUP ON
THE B.C. APPLES KNOWN AS ARCTIC
APPLES AND WHETHER THAT IS AN
UNAMBIGUOUSLY AGRICULTURAL
BIOTECH SUCCESS STORY.
IAN, WHY DON'T YOU START THE
STORY.
JUST A FEW MINUTES HERE, SO
START THE STORY AND TELL US WHAT THOSE ARE.

Ian says VERY EXCITING NEW TECHNOLOGY.
SO IT'S MORE OF A CLASSICAL GMO,
IF YOU WILL, BUT IT'S AN APPLE
WHERE THEY'VE DIALLED DOWN THE
BROWNING.
SO WHEN YOU CUT AN APPLE OPEN
AND IT GOES BROWN, THAT'S JUST
BECAUSE THE JUICES ALMOST...
IT'S A RUSTING-TYPE ACTION IN
THE AIR, AND THAT'S WHAT TURNS
THAT SURFACE BROWN.
SO BY TURNING DOWN ONE LITTLE
PART OF THAT JUICE, IT NO LONGER
BROWNS.
IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE NUTRITION
OF THE APPLE, DOESN'T CHANGE THE
SPEED AT WHICH IT DECOMPOSES.
IT JUST SIMPLY MAKES IT STAY
FRESH LONGER.
SO IF YOU WANT TO CUT IT UP FOR
YOUR KIDS' LUNCHES, LIKE I DO
FOR MY SON THE NIGHT BEFORE, YOU
CAN LEAVE IT IN THE FRIDGE AND
IT WON'T BROWN.
IT REDUCES FOOD WASTE, MAKES IT
AN EASIER SNACK.

Steve says LUCY, THE OKANAGAN
SPECIALTY FRUITS GROUP, I
GATHER, HAVE UNDERTAKEN AN
EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE RELATED
TO THIS.
TELL US ABOUT THAT.

The caption changes to "In the classroom."

Lucy says WELL, THE COMPANY IS
PROMOTING ITS APPLE AS, YEAH, A
BENEFIT TO THE CONSUMERS.
I WOULD SAY THAT AS A PROJECT OF
GENETIC ENGINEERING IT IS A
FAILURE BECAUSE IT'S JUST
UNNECESSARY.
AND BOTH FARMERS AND CONSUMERS
IN CANADA HAVE LARGELY SAID SO.
THERE'S BEEN A BIG CONTROVERSY
OVER THE APPLE BECAUSE THIS
QUESTION OF A NON-BROWNING APPLE
CAN BE SOLVED BY ALL KINDS OF
OTHER TECHNOLOGIES, MANY OF
WHICH WE USE ALL THE TIME,
INCLUDING AT HOME WITH LEMON
JUICE.
SO PUTTING RESOURCES BEHIND THIS
TECHNOLOGY, THE COMPANY PROMOTES
IT AS A CONSUMER-FRIENDLY
TECHNOLOGY THAT WOULD MEAN WE
DON'T HAVE TO COMMIT TO A WHOLE
APPLE REALLY IN REALITY WHAT
THIS HAS MEANT SO FAR, AND IT'S
NOT YET SOLD AS FOOD IN CANADA,
IT'S IN PLASTIC BAGS IN THE
UNITED STATES AS SLICED APPLES.
AND REALLY, YOU KNOW, TO LOOK AT
THE QUESTION OF FOOD WASTE, WE
NEED TO DO THAT REALLY TOGETHER
AS A SOCIETY AND NOT ALLOW
INDIVIDUAL CORPORATIONS TO
PROMOTE THEIR PRODUCTS OUT OF
CONTEXT, AND THAT'S WHAT THEY'VE
BEEN DOING.
AND THEY'VE BEEN CLAIMING, YOU
KNOW, EXCITEMENT ON PART OF
CONSUMERS, AND YET, YOU KNOW, OF
COURSE THERE'S NO LABELLING.
THIS IS THE SAME THING WE SEE
WITH THE GM SALMON, WHERE THE
COMPANY SAYS THIS IS A GREAT
SUCCESS, PEOPLE LOVE IT.
PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S ON
THE MARKET, AND PEOPLE ASK US
ALL THE TIME: AM I EATING AN
APPLE... OR ACTUALLY THEY CALL
TO SAY I CUT AN APPLE.
IS THIS GENETICALLY MODIFIED?
SO WE DO NEED TO GIVE PEOPLE
REAL INFORMATION, NOT JUST FROM,
AS IAN HAD SAID, YOU KNOW, THE
INFORMATION IS OUT THERE
SOMEWHERE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Gregg Thurlbeck, @GreggThurlbeck."

Steve says OKAY, FORGIVE ME, I'M
GOING TO JUMP IN HERE BECAUSE
WE'RE ABOUT TO LOSE OUR
SATELLITE FEEDS TO BOTH OF YOU.
I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT WITHOUT
HAVING A CHANCE TO SAY SO LONG
AND THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING.
STUART SMYTH, AGRIFOOD
INNOVATION CHAIR, UNIVERSITY OF
SASKATCHEWAN. LUCY SHARRATT,
THE COORDINATOR FROM THE
CANADIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION
NETWORK. WE THANK YOU TWO
FOR BEING THERE FOR US IN
SASKATOON AND HALIFAX
RESPECTIVELY. AND IAN AFFLECK,
CROPLIFE CANADA.
CRYSTAL MacKAY, CANADIAN CENTRE
FOR FOOD INTEGRITY. WE'RE
GRATEFUL YOU COULD SPARE TIME
FOR US IN OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

Ian says THANK YOU.

Crystal says THANK YOU.

Stuart says THANK YOU.

Lucy says Thank you.

Watch: Agricultural Biotech at Home and Abroad