By: Tom Spears Published: Ottawa Citizen, July 23, 2013
OTTAWA — Canada geese may have spread viable seeds of genetically modified wheat grown at the Central Experimental Farm, documents from Agriculture Canada show.
The odds aren’t high, the department says.
But the geese ate the experimental wheat last summer at the Experimental Farm. Geese are voracious eaters and leave droppings every few minutes.
The fear is that these geese may have left poop with living GM wheat seeds that could allow GM wheat to spread outside the controlled field, or even away from the farm itself.
The issue blew up on a Friday night in 2012, taking the department by surprise.
Now the Citizen has obtained internal emails, with many of the relevant details blacked out, showing the rush by federal bureaucrats to find out whether the GM seeds had flown the coop, potentially to other farms.
GM wheat is not approved in Canada. Many growers, including the Canadian Wheat Board, strongly oppose it, saying that growing GM wheat will make all Canadian wheat harder to sell in Europe and Asia.
And the last thing any grower wants is to have ordinary wheat crops accidentally mixed with the GM varieties.