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University of Guelph Prepares to Safety Test Genetically Modified Pork

by 5m Editor
10 February 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1175. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1175

The University of Guelph is preparing to test the safety of meat produced from genetically modified pigs.

The University of Guelph's enviropig, which was engineered to produce an enzyme that improves phosphorus utilization, is one of several lines of genetically modified pigs being studied around the world.

The University is preparing to start safety testing to take these animals through the novel foods act of Health Canada and to begin research and development for taking them through the US Food and Drug Administration testing system.

Microbiology Professor Dr. Cecil Forsberg says a good illustration of the balance between pros and cons can be best illustrated by looking at transgenic crops including transgenic canola and transgenic corn.

"There have been no instances where this has caused any deleterious effect to the environment or to people consuming it.

If we translate that to the consumption of transgenic pork, and I must say first of all that there has been no safety testing on transgenic pork, there are no transgenic pigs in the world at this time being consumed by humans.

I would suspect that, since the pig is the best model for human nutrition, that if you show the transgenic protein being produced is non-allergenic, I would suspect meat from a transgenic animal would be as healthy as from a non transgenic animal."

Dr. Forsberg stresses Health Canada does not yet have all of the necessary tests in place for assessing genetically modified pork.

However, he says, the sort of things to be looked will include whether the meat is toxic when fed in a rat or a mouse model and whether it has allergenic potential in animal models or in computerized types of screening.

He says the time frame for this testing should be in the order of three to five years but that could stretch out as agencies come up with other test requirements.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor