Flax Triffid Test
The Flax Council of Canada announced that as of September 1, 2010, the industry requires that any flax entering the commercial grain handling system be subjected to more rigorous testing for the presence of CDC Triffid. CDC Triffid flax is a genetically-modified flax variety that was developed at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1990s. The variety was engineered to contain genes from a weed, allowing it to grow in soil contaminated by herbicides. The modified seed was deregistered and ordered destroyed a number of years ago after concerns arose from farmers that the EU would reject it. Mysteriously, CDC Triffid has reappeared in commercial crops.
Producers must submit a two-kilogram representative sample from which Discovery Seed Labs will draw and test four subsamples, each weighing 60 grams (4 x 60 g test). A sample is considered negative only if all four subsamples test negative. The flax industry recommends that one representative sample be submitted per 75 to 125 tonnes (3,000 to 5,000 bushels) of a producer’s total flax inventory. This means that if producers have more than 5,000 bushels of flax, they should submit another sample for each additional 5,000 bushels. Guidelines for preparing representative samples are available from the Canadian Grain Commission. Discovery Seed Labs screens the flax seed with DNA markers that have the ability to detect the presence of CDC Triffid genetically-modified material in flax seed.