You Must Test Your Flax Seed for Triffid – Dave Sefton, SaskFlax

The flax industry in Canada is still in recovery trying to manage the triffid flax discovery of 2009. Triffid, a genetically modified form of flax, was ordered destroyed over 10 years ago over concerns that the European Union would reject it. Those fears over rejection were enough reason for farmers, considering that the EU buys seventy percent of Canada’s flax crop. Although the crop was thoroughly tested and approved in Canada, the European Union policies on tolerance resulted in it being deregistered and destroyed here.

The discovery of triffid in varieties in Canada in 2009 shut down exports to the EU immediately. Since then, mandatory three stage testing was implemented, and slowly, some shipments resumed. While we are not at the pre-triffid levels, industrial side shipments represent the bulk of the exports. Flax for food shipments have seen very little movement. At this stage of the game, testing is the way to ensure triffid free flax.

Dave Sefton is a farmers and a Director with SaskFlax. RealAgriculture talked to him about the importance of testing for triffid before you seed flax in 2011. With rumours of farmers making a late switch to more flax acres testing for triffid is very important. Processors will not accept your flax for shipment without a pre-seeding test. The test cost $200 with $100 of that being covered in programs. The test takes 2-5 days from accredited seed labs.

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Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of @shaunhaney


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One Comment

Robert Wager

The EU has recently stepped back from zero tolerance policy on GMO’s adventitious presense. Well sort of. The EC has put forward a 0.9% threshold for consideration of the block. The block has not yet voted on this. Since European animal husbandry is dying from the zero tolerance policy I think it is very likely this new threshold will stick.

If you are interested in the EU and its GMO policies have a look at an article on my website entitled “Zero sense in European approach to GM



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