Excerpt from a National Post story by Sarah Schmidt titled “Genetically engineered pigs a step closer to dinner plate“:
“OTTAWA — Genetically engineered pigs are one step closer to becoming meat on Canadian kitchen tables with the federal government poised to declare that they do not harm the environment.
Canwest News Service has learned Environment Canada has determined that Yorkshire pigs developed at the University of Guelph are not toxic to the environment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The official declaration will be made on Saturday.
This is the first regulatory hurdle to get the pigs to market, which will be a first in the country if Health Canada approves Guelph’s pending application, submitted last year, seeking a government declaration that its transgenic pig is fit for human consumption.
The so-called “Enviropigs,” the world’s first transgenic animal created to solve an environmental problem, were created in 1999 with a snippet of mouse DNA introduced into their chromosomes.
The pigs produce low-phosphorus feces.
The Guelph scientists were able to reduce phosphorus pollution by creating a special composite gene that enables digestion of a normally unavailable form of phosphorus. This allows the pigs to produce manure that is 30 to 65% lower in phosphorus than found in the manure of regular pigs — blamed for polluting surface and groundwater when raised in intensive livestock operations.
“The university has successfully satisfied the requirements to allow the line of transgenic pigs to be produced and farmed using appropriate containment procedures. So that’s the step we’re at right now,” said Steven Liss, associate vice-president for research at the University of Guelph…..”