Peter W.B. Phillips and Grant Isaac
University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Genetically-modified plants, animals and processed foodstuffs have been introduced to the international marketplace in the 1990s. North American production of corn, soybeans and canola is now more than 50% with transgenic traits (herbicide tolerance or bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) resistance), while milk from the United States (US) is mostly produced with recombinant bovine somatatrophin (rBST), and meat is being produced with various biotechnologically-based growth hormones.

The five countries that regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs)-Canada, USA, Mexico, Japan and the European Union (EU)-have all considered the appropriate role of labels in signaling these new production methods to consumers. Each of the five countries currently regulates the introduction of GMO products but only the EU requires labels that specify the presence of GMOs. This potential “technical barrier to trade” poses challenges to producers, consumers and governments alike. Read more . . .