Canadian government practices, policies, laws and regulations make being vegan in Canada challenging. We feel it’s mandatory to disclose as much information as possible to consumers. If we don’t have the necessary information to make informed decisions, we could be unwittingly supporting animal exploitation with our consumer dollars.
Canada’s proposed changes to novel food regulations as it applies to plant breeding is leading us further astray. If not present in the final product, plants genetically modified using genes from animals could go to market without this fact being disclosed or labelled. This is in addition to the possible animal exploitation experienced during the gene editing process, which would also be unreported and unlabelled; this is already the case in Canada with processing aids that do not require labelling.
The voluntary disclosure program the government is proposing so the industry self-regulates will not benefit consumers, as has historically been shown with self-regulating bodies. Unlike the current situation where disclosure of genetic modification is mandatory, there would be no way to avoid these products because there would be no way for the public to know that the genetic modification exists in the first place.
If these proposed changes were to take effect, the only way to know the basic plant foods we eat are suitable for vegans would be to have each individual producer go through the certification process. It’s easy to see how this could turn into a nightmare scenario.
The government is having a public consultation on this topic and asking Canadians for their feedback. Whatever your opinion, let them know so that at the very least our regulations reflect the wishes of the public.