Canary seed designated safe for humans to eat

Once only considered birdseed, canary seed has been approved as a high protein, gluten-free option in a variety of food products for humans. Devin Sauer / Global News

SASKATOON – Members of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan (CDCS) celebrated a long-awaited announcement Monday that recognized canary seed as safe for human consumption. The grain is most commonly known as feed for birds.

Canary seed received “novel food approval” from Health Canada, essentially designating it as a food that can be commercially sold for humans to eat.

“I think it’s a really important moment for the canary seed growers,” said David Nobbs, chair of the CDCS.

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Canary seeds are high in protein and gluten-free. Its flour can be made into bread, cookies, cereals and pastas.

“In order to really get this industry moving, we’ve got to open up into new markets,” Nobbs said.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also given canary seed a designation of “generally recognized as safe.”

An estimated 149,000 tonnes of canary seed was harvested from over 300,000 acres in 2015, according to the CDCS.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart predicted acreage dedicated to the crop will increase as canary seed is incorporated into more human food products.


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