March 5, 2010

Beware of Triffid

Beware of Triffid
Canadian GM flaxseed contaminates export supply
By MARVIN BAKER
EDITOR
Flax producers and grain elevator managers in North Dakota are being warned about a flaxseed variety called Triffid and under no circumstances are they to purchase it for seed this coming spring.
AmeriFlax, a national flaxseed organization located in Mandan, issued the warning Monday, telling producers and elevator managers that Triffid is a genetically modified variety developed in Canada that wasn’t supposed to be exported, and now it has contaminated flaxseed all across Europe and parts of Africa.
“No Triffid has been found in the U.S. crop to date and it is very important that we are vigilant in maintaining a Triffid-free U.S. flax crop,” said Sheri Coleman with AmeriFlax. “The discovery of Triffid in the Canadian flaxseed crop this past summer has been devastating to the Canadian industry.”
According to the Canadian Grain Commission, this GM flaxseed developed in a lab at the University of Saskatchewan, was released for experimental domestic use only and even though the last known 200,000 bushels of the seed valued at $2.5 million has been destroyed, some has been mixed with traditional flax.
The key for North Dakota producers, is that many of them purchase their certified flaxseed from Canadian companies and that seed, if not analyzed, could very well contain Triffid seeds, according to Coleman.
“Triffid has been found within seed grown throughout Canada,” Coleman said. “The European Union is a significant importer of Canadian and United States produced flaxseed. The EU has a zero tolerance for unapproved GMO events and this event has caused a significant interruption to the European markets.”
Interestingly, “Triffid” is the name of tall, three-legged walking plants in a 1950s science fiction movie by the same name. Media in Europe is having fun with this, adding to the word “Frankenfood” that was coined there after GM canola and soybeans were released, named after the novel and movie “Frankenstein.”
 


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