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Far from being a leader in agriculture and food safety, Canada is falling behind on many fronts. During a week-long series, The Globe and Mail explored some of the key challenges we face in feeding ourselves:

  • Our food inspection system has yet to adapt to the vast influx of food products imported from around the globe, and some see granting consumers access to the source-trace databases of shippers and retailers as part of the solution.

  • The vast middle tier of farms in this country are too small to be globally competitive, in terms of output and revenue. Corporate Canada could play a role in scaling up some of these operations, but many still recoil from "the land" being bought and sold like every other business.

  • Canadian researchers created two transgenic animals, both of which are likely to be among the first to enter the human food chain. Why has Canada been slow to adopt regulations that ensure they are safe to eat?

  • Is it even possible to only eat locally in this new world order?

Most-viewed, most-discussed stories

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  1. Canadians don’t know the price of milk: Canada’s dairy industry is among the most complicated in the country, involving layers of government agencies who manage supply. While the farm price of corn, wheat and canola can be tracked regularly on commodity markets, milk is different. More...

  2. The growing problem: Canada slips from agricultural superpower status: Over the past 20 years, direct payments to farmers by the federal and provincial governments have tripled, and total spending on agriculture now tops $8-billion annually. Despite all that spending, farm incomes in Canada haven’t budged much in decades, and farm debt levels have soared. More...

  3. Canada's transgenic Enviropig is stuck in a genetic modification poke: To feed the projected world population of nine billion in 2050, food production will have to increase by 70 per cent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Genetically engineered organisms like the Enviropig will have to be part of the equation, according to the globe-spanning community of experts. More...

Top scored Catalyst comment

I, for one, am happy to pay an extra 10% to consume milk that is free of bovine growth hormone and eggs that are less likely to be contaminated with salmonella. Ben Bradshaw

Top scored Reader comment

I wouldn't trust any food from China, and if a food contains any ingredients from China, I want to know about it - it should be on the label. BG

Expert panel debate: Most viewed video

Do we care where our food comes from? Featuring Ontario Agri-Food Technologies president Gord Surgeoner, Jack Wilkinson, former president of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, and Globe and Mail reporter Paul Waldie. More...

Most viewed interactive

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Vegetables 2.0: Five real-world examples of crossbred produce. With advances in genetic research, new fruits and vegetables bound for supermarkets are tastier, healthier — and more attractive View...

Most active live chat

Why corporate Canada is very interested in buying farmland , featuring Tom Eisenhauer, President, Bonnefield Financial Inc. and Globe and Mail reporter Paul Waldie. More...

Most active poll and results

Frankenfood or futurefood: Canadian-made Enviropigs and super-sized salmon are on pace to become the first genetically modified animals allowed into the food system: Are you ready to eat them?

Out of 9,387 votes cast:

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  • 24% If they pass an approval process like that for new drugs, sign me up

  • 50% No way, never

  • 26% I'd probably wait a few years to see long-term effects


With the right mindset and more open policies, Canada can embrace, rather than shrink from, the global opportunities in food The Globe and Mail

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