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GM Contamination Register
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FP967 ('Triffid') flax has been gown illegally in Canada and exported around the globe.

The initial discovery of unauthorised GM Flax was in Germany of some flax that had been imported from Canada. This was on the 8 September 2009, Since that first discovery GM flax continues to be discovered around Europe and is thought to have been imported to over 30 countries around the world. The table at the bottom of the page shows the confirmed cases the Contamination Register has been able to record.

Flax (Linum usitatissimum) also known Linseed has a wide range of food, humnan feed and industrial uses. As a food it is valued because of its high levels of omega fatty acids and particularly Omega-3.

Industrial oil and fibres are used in a wide varieties of products, for example linseed oil is used as a preservative on wood and the floor covering linoleum is 30% linseed oil.

In the late 1980ís a flax variety, known as FP967 and later named Triffid was developed by a public research institution, the Crop Development Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Triffid was authorised for commercial use in both Canada and the United States in the late 1990ís. However concerns about the European export market meant Triffid certified seed was never sold for commercial production. By 2001 Triffed was de-registered and it was believed that all known stocks had been identified and destroyed.

There is no Event-specific test for FP967 and it is currently conceivable that the contamination is caused by another very similar GM flax. The Plant Biotechnology Institute (PBI) in Saskatoon is developing a Triffid specific test, which when developed, will be sent to GM monitoring labs in Europe as designated by the European Governments in consultation with the Canadian Government.

Canadian Government officials met with representatives from DG SANCO (Department of Health) of the European Commission on Thursday 23 September. It is thought that they agreed propose a protocol for assuring that Canadian linseed shipments to the EU complied with EU requirements prior to the meeting of the EUís Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 19 October .

Concerns are growing that as Canadian Flax farmers prepare to harvest this years crop, the extent of the contamination is still unknown.

Canada is the world's leader in the production and export of flax. Canada currently ships 60% of its flax exports to the EU, 30% to the United Sates, and 4% to Japan. Between 500,000-700,000 bushels go to Europe. Before the contamination scandal, cash bids for flax in Manitoba were 9.90-9.92 a bushel. But just based on rumour, before contamination was confirmed, flax bids in Manitoba were down to $6.78 a bushel. This is a fall in price of 32% before the GM contamination was even confirmed.

Contamination incidents involving Flax 967

Date Country Distributed to Product RASFF* number
8 September Germany Switzerland and Poland Cereals/bakery products 2009.1171
11 September Germany Austria and Mauritius nuts, nut products and cereals 2009.1198
15 September Germany Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland. Cereals/bakery products 2009.1208
18 September Germany Austria Cereals/bakery products 2009.1228
21 September Germany Luxembourg Cereals/bakery products 2009.1232
24 September Germany Austria and Mauritius Cereals/bakery products 2009.1247
1 October Germany Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom baking mixture manufactured in Germany, raw materials from Canada 2009.1267
2 October Germany None Ground brown linseed (origin unknown) 2009.1270
5 October Germany None Animal Feed 2009.1279
5 October Germany None Animal Feed 2009.1281
5 October Germany None Animal Feed 2009.1286
5 October Austria Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland Cereal and Bakery Products 2009.1287
6 October Austria None Cereal and Bakery Products 2009.1295
6 October Austria None nuts, nut products and seeds 2009.1294
6 October Germany Egypt, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain cereals and bakery products 2009.1289
6 October Austria None cereals and bakery products 2009.1291
6 October Austria Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia linseed whole grain 2009.1296
6 October Germany France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland brown linseed 2009.1290
7 October Germany None cereals and bakery products 2009.1297
7 October Germany Mauritius cereals and bakery products 2009.1298
7 October Romania Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland linseed in frozen bakery products 2009.1299
8 October Germany None linseed in baking mixture 2009.1311
8 October Germany Austria linseed in baking mixture 2009.1313
8 October Germany Netherlands linseed 2009.1316
8 October Sweden Italy linseed 2009.1307
8 October Germany Macedonia, The Former Republic Of Yugoslav, Greece, brown linseed 2009.1308
8 October Germany Poland, Luxembourg, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain and Hong Kong, brown linseed 2009.1309
8 October Germany None linseed 2009.1314
9 October Germany None linseed 2009.1318
9 October Austria Poland linseed 2009.1322
9 October Austria linseed 2009.1323
12 October Cyprus Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria linseed in frozen bakery products 2009.1331
12 October Finland Latvia, Estonia linseed in frozen bakery products 2009.1335
13 October Germany import via Poland linseed 2009.1339
13 October Germany None brown linseed 2009.1340
13 October Germany Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia linseed 2009.1341
13 October Germany Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Austria linseed 2009.1342
14 October Germany Austria linseed 2009.1349
14 October Germany Austria linseed 2009.1351
15 October Germany Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Poland, Netherlands linseed in bakery mixture 2009.1363
15 October Germany None linseed meal (animal feed) 2009.1365
20 October Greece None brown linseed 2009.1388
21 October Germany Nonw linseed in bakery mixtures 2009.1397
21 October Germany Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Austria brown linseed 2009.1400
22 October Italy Slovenia linseed 2009.1413
22 October Germany Italy, Portugal, Malta brown linseed 2009.1414
26 October Cyprus none linseed in bakery mix from Germany 2009.1444
27 October Cyprus None brown linseed 2009.1453
28 October Germany Sweden, Poland, Netherlands, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia linseed in bakery products 2009.1462
29 October Germany Austria linseed 2009.1472
30 October Germany Austria linseed 2009.1474
30 October Luxembourg None brown linseed 2009.1476
30 October Luxembourg None linseed 2009.1477
30 October Luxembourg None linseed 2009.1485
3 November Germany None brown linseed 2009.1489
4 November Slovenia None brown linseed 2009.1497
4 November France None linseed in wholegrain toasted bread 2009.1498
4 November Germany None linseed in bakery mixture 2009.1501
3 November Germany None brown linseed 2009.1506
4 November Finland imported via Israel linseed in food supplement 2009.BXE
5 November Greece None organic brown linseed 2009.1515
6 November Switzerland (via EU Commission) None linseed in muesli 2009.1523
6 November Switzerland (via EU Commission) United Kingdom brown linseed 2009.1524
6 November Germany None brown linseed 2009.1531

*The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) is used by the EU Member States, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland. It was put in place to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.

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