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Report: Canada to approve GM 'enviropigs'

Feb. 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

OTTAWA, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A Canadian government department is poised to approve genetically modified pigs for the food supply, the Canwest News Service reported Friday.

Sources told the agency Environment Canada will announce approval of the strain known as "enviropigs" Saturday.

The strain would then need approval from Health Canada before the pigs enter the food market.

The Yorkshire pigs were developed by researchers in Ontario at the University of Guelph, who spliced in genes from mice to decrease the amount of phosphorus produced in the pigs' dung, the report said.

The genetic modification means the new strain of pigs produce 30 to 65 percent less phosphorus in their waste, which has been problematic in surface and groundwater around large livestock operations, Canwest said.

Steven Liss, associate vice-president for research at the University of Guelph, said an application has also been sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but he had no idea how long it would take to get a response.

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