Flax Faces Rigorous Testing – for Sep. 16, 2010

More rigorous testing for the presence of CDC Triffid will be required before farmers can deliver flax this crop year.

Producers must send a two-kilogram representative sample to an approved laboratory (see box). The lab will then test four 60-gram samples.

“All four lots must be Triffid-free for the result to be considered a negative result,” the Flax Council of Canada (FCC) said in a release last month. “The industry has called for this procedure because using multiple subsamples significantly increases the reliability of the test results.”

It’s unknown how much CDC Triffid is in this year’s crop because so little of it has been harvested, never mind tested, said FCC spokesman Les Rankin.

It’s hoped there will be less than in the last crop since most farmers planted only seed that had been tested and found Triffidfree.

“If it isn’t that trend, that would be quite discouraging,” said Rankin.

Canadian flax exports ground to halt last year after the European Union found traces of CDC Triffid in shipments. Only small amounts, which have been extensively tested, have been exported to the EU since.

The genetically modified variety was approved in Canada but was deregistered in 2001 before being commercialized.

At first Canadian authorities thought some old stocks had somehow entered the system. But more than 6,000 samples submitted by farmers for testing revealed nine to 10 per cent were contaminated with Triffid, albeit at low levels, said Rankin.

Traces of Triffid have also been found in some of the breeder seed of other flax cultivars developed by the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC), which developed the GM variety. [email protected]


The following companies will only accept results from these labs. This list may be modified. Check www.flaxcouncil.ca regularly for updates.


DNA LandMarks Inc. Eurofins GeneScan, Inc. Quantum Biosciences Inc. PatersonGrain (preferred labs) 20/20 Seed Labs Inc. Eurofins GeneScan Inc. Quantum Biosciences Inc. RichardsonPioneer Eurofins GeneScan Inc. Quantum Biosciences Inc. Viterra

Eurofins GeneScan, Inc. Quantum Biosciences Inc. ParrishandHeimbecker Quantum Biosciences Inc.

About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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