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Say So-long to Sci-fi Seed

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A genetically engineered flax seed has been removed from the market due to European fears that it will contaminate other flax varieties in Canada. University of Saskatchewan researchers called their seed Triffid after the tall, three-legged walking plants in a 1950s science fiction movie.

A genetically engineered flax seed has been removed from the market due to European fears that it will contaminate other flax varieties in Canada. University of Saskatchewan researchers called their seed Triffid after the tall, three-legged walking plants in a 1950s science fiction movie. It's illegal to sell or grow the seed in Canada as of April 1, 2001, the date it was de-registered. The last of 200,000 bushels--worth more than $2.5 million--was gathered from across the Prairies and destroyed earlier this year.

This case represents the first time a productive, federally approved crop has been taken off the market. European customers, who buy 60 per cent of Canada's flax crops, provided a strong incentive and worked with the Flax Council of Canada to have Triffid production shut down. Farmers were also against using the seed.
June 21, 2001

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