| | english | español | français |
Go to record ID

  Home|Finding Information|Record details   Printer-friendly version

Information Resource
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2019-05-30 21:45 UTC (cjg072@mail.usask.ca)
Date of publication
2019-07-04 20:18 UTC (austein.mcloughlin@cbd.int)

General Information
Economic Implications of Low-level Presence in a Zero-Tolerance European Import Market: The Case of Canadian Triffid Flax
Camille D. Ryan and Stuart J. Smyth; University of Saskatchewan
  • English
Publication date
Summary, abstract or table of contents
Triffid is the name given to a genetically modified (GM) variety of flaxseed that was developed in the late 1980s at the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre. The variety was designed to thrive in soil containing residues from sulfonylurea- type herbicides and offered greater weed control options to flax growers. In 1998, Triffid received Canadian and American feed and food regulatory approvals and entered a seed multiplication program. The following year, Europe threatened to stop importing Canadian flax should GM flax enter into commercial production. By April 2001, Triffid was deregistered and all remaining seed was supposedly destroyed. However, in late 2009, Triffid flax was unexpectedly detected in EU food products and in subsequent flax imports into Europe from Canada. In response to this, the EU immediately halted Canadian flax imports.

This article documents Canadian costs of the Triffid flax issue as an example of low level presence (LLP) of an unapproved transformation event in a zero-tolerance European market. It explores/evaluates the impacts (economic and social costs) on the Canadian industry-including the development of a stewardship program and testing protocols, the engagement and relationship strategies utilized in negotiations with the EU to resolve market access, and the overall industry response to the issue (from producers to exporters).

The article presents survey responses from more than 270 Western Canadian flax farmers. This survey data provides new insights as to how farmers manage LLP on-farm. The production attributes that are examined range from field agronomics to ability to export. Specifically, it examines how farmers have dealt with flax, in terms of production and sale, since the Fall of 2009. Detailed analysis is provided for the following supply chain components: on-farm testing, carryover costs, and opportunity costs. Finally, the article provides some insights as to who farmers trust in terms of communicating information to them on how to best manage this situation.
Thematic areas
Additional Information
Type of resource
  • Article (journal / magazine / newspaper)
Publisher and its location
©2012 AgBioForum
10 pages
Keywords and any other relevant information
Flax, genetic modification, international trade, low level presence.