GM Flax Concerns

flax28nw3Earlier this fall, the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed confirmed the presence of GMO flax, known as “Triffid,” in flax imported from Canada. This comes as a surprise, as Triffid has been illegal in Canada since 2001, when flax farmers and the Canadian Grain Commission successfully lobbied to have it banned from the market. Although Triffid was never sold commercially in Canada, it has now shown up in 34 countries. It is still unclear how this contamination occurred, and many Canadian flax farmers worry that their livelihoods are at stake. (Read more here.)

Although it appears that the contamination has only been showing up in trace amounts, and to-date there have been no reported cases of contamination in organic supplies, the Non-GMO Project is monitoring the situation closely. If contamination risk above the Non-GMO Project Standard’s action thresholds is determined to be significant by the Standard Committee, flax will be added to Appendix B of the Non-GMO Project Standard (“List of Crops, Processed/Processing Inputs, Production Inputs, and other Organisms with GMO Risk”).