Health Canada approves first GM fish for human consumption

The in-store product will not be labelled

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society and the Quebec network Vigilance OGM are expressing concerns over Health Canada’s approval – announced on May 19 – of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal, a GM Atlantic salmon, for human consumption.

Environment Canada has already approved the production of the GM fish, but this decision is currently before the courts in Canada. The GM fish will not be labelled on grocery store shelves.

“Canadians could now be faced with the world’s first GM food animal, approved with no public consultation and no labelling,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network).

Health Canada announced approval of the GM fish for human consumption in a conference call on May 19. The Atlantic salmon has been genetically modified using genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout to grow faster. The Canadian decision follows a US government safety approval in November 2015, though there is now a US import ban on the GM fish until some form of labelling standard is established.

“At the very least, the government should immediately establish mandatory labelling of all GM foods so consumers can choose,” said Thibault Rehn of Vigilance OGM. The latest consumer poll shows 88% of Canadians want mandatory labelling of all GM foods and 45% said they would definitely not eat the GM salmon.

In November 2013, the Minister of Environment approved commercial production of the GM fish eggs and fish, triggering a court case brought forward by environmental groups Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society. The case is ongoing.

“GM salmon production threatens the future of wild Atlantic salmon,” said Calinda Brown of the Ecology Action Centre. “Retailers can protect consumers and the environment by making sure this GM fish never makes it to grocery store shelves.”

Major retailers in the US have already pledged not to sell the GM salmon.

The US company AquaBounty – now majority owned by biotechnology company Intrexon – says it initially plans to produce GM salmon eggs at its facility in Prince Edward Island in Canada and ship the eggs to Panama for grow out and processing. However, the company has approval to raise the GM salmon in Canada.

Take action

Email, write or call your Member of Parliament. You can search for your MP’s contact using your postal code at Write to the Minister of Health (also at and write to your grocery chain and ask them not to stock any GM salmon.


With less than 24 hours notice, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency invited stakeholders to join a conference call on May 19, 2016 for an “Update on a Regulatory Decision Related to Food.” This is the first time that federal regulatory agencies have announced a GM food approval outside of just notifying the company that requested approval and later posting the decision to government websites. For information on Canadian regulation, see CBAN’s report

Source: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. For more information and action, please visit


Nova Scotia says no to genetically modified fish

NopeProvincial fisheries minister Keith Colwell says, “We’re more interested in making sure we protect what we have. Until someone can prove to us and to the public that this will be a good idea – and I don’t see much support anywhere for this – we’re not interested.”

1 thought on “Health Canada approves first GM fish for human consumption”

  1. Petitions don’t work as well as calls to MPs, angry letters, websites publications etc. These are all ignored.
    It is too much on the stake for the government (governmental bureaucrats and politicians in charge) to take into account People’s opinions or call of the common sense.
    Two its inherent qualities are in play here:
    1. Governments are corrupted and the Canadian one is not an exception.
    2. Almost all contemporary governments are not controlled by the people. The natural purpose of any government is to achieve independence of those who it controls and preserve/increase its power. If a political system allows it to happen it happens.
    This brings us to most probable reasons why we’re eating GMO in Canada.
    The government is bought out bribed by companies like Monsanto and DuPonte (#1) and the government has its own agenda (or an agenda pushed by other forces through the government – #2).
    Do we have a solution?
    I believe a solution always exist. The question is are the People ready for the solution?
    Thus is one of them – peaceful and legitimate.
    Call a referendum and win it.
    But in this case it is plain stupid to ask just labeling.
    Ban GMO completely in our country.
    And very important: make sure that results are enforced.
    God help Canadians (if they want to take care of themselves)!


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