Canadian Forest Service Publications

The Regulation of transgenic trees in North America. 2000. McLean, M.A.; Charest, P.J. Silvae Genetica 49(6): 233-239.

Year: 2000

Issued by: National Capital Region

Catalog ID: 18450

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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Canada and the United States have both developed strong, science-based systems for the regulation of transgenic plants to ensure environmental protection. In both countries transgenic plants cannot be introduced into commerce unless they have been critically evaluated for environmental safety. The framework for the regulation of transgenic plants in Canada and the U.S. is comparable, however there are significant differences. In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for the regulation of importation and environmental release of transgenic plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registers certain pesticides produced in transgenic plants prior to their distribution and sale and establishes tolerances for the pesticides in the plants. Details of the Canadian and U.S. regulatory systems are presented, including informaiton on the key criteria utilized in environmental safety assessments, with an emphasis on some unique challenges posed by transgenic trees. To date, the U.S. has authorized the release of one transgenic tree species (papaya) and has allowed approximately 124 confined trials of transgenic trees. Canada has authorized only two transgenic tree trials thus far.