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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