Cibus Global, a precision gene editing firm, announced its first commercial product SU Canola (sulfonylurea tolerant) has received Plant Novel Trait (PNT) approval by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC). With this regulatory approval, Cibus is permitted to fully commercialize this product in Canada. Cibus SU Canola is explained to be a non-GM new alternative for weed control that will provide Canadian farmers with options to deal with weed resistance resulting from overuse of current herbicide tolerant GM varieties.
“The approval from the Canadian government is an exciting and necessary step for Cibus while we advance our technologies into this important marketplace for canola,” said David Voss, vice president of commercial development for Cibus. “The new system offers an excellent alternative weed control system for farmers. Cibus’ SU herbicide tolerant system controls glyphosate-resistant weeds such as pigweed and is an excellent crop rotational partner for glyphosate tolerant soybeans.”
The CFIA and HC have a harmonized process to assess the safety of plants with novel traits. All new traits must be registered whether they are transgenic or not in order to enter the marketplace. The rigorous assessment performed by the CFIA and HC determined that such plants are as safe as other conventional plant varieties already grown in Canada for use as human food, animal feed and for release into the environment. According to this environmental safety assessment completed by the CFIA, SU Canola is approved for unconfined release into the environment since it does not present increased risk when compared to currently cultivated canola varieties in Canada, Cibus Global explained.
Farmers planted 20 million acres of canola in Canada last year. A 2013 Canola Council study shows Canadian-grown canola contributes $19.3 billion to the Canadian economy each year, including more than 249,000 Canadian jobs and $12.5 billion in wages. Demand for canola continues to grow as the world learns more about its advantages for human health and as a source of high-quality animal feed and biofuel feedstock. Cibus SU Canola will offer a non-GM alternative to these important food and animal feed products.
Cibus’ SU Canola is already commercially available in the United States, and the company will now move forward with product availability in Canada. Cibus’ core technology has already been incorporated in many organisms including yeast, bacteria, plants and animals, with applications in agricultural, industrial lubricants, food ingredients and health care markets.