GENET archive


7-Misc: Monsanto fears that Canadians loose confidence in GMOs

mailinglist genet-news
-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Monsanto chief warns of threats to Canadian GMO
SOURCE: Resource News International
DATE:   April 14, 1999

----------------- archive: ------------------

Monsanto chief warns of threats to Canadian GMO acceptance

Winnipeg, MB, Canada, Apr. 14, 1999 (Resource News International via COMTEX) -- While Canadian consumers' acceptance of genetically modified foods is greater than their counterparts in the EU, biased media reports, growing fears of so-called "Frankenstein foods" in Europe, and the effectiveness of GMO opponents, are a genuine threat to GMO acceptance in Canada, according to Ray Mowling, president of Monsanto Canada Inc. He spoke here today at the Canada Grains Council's 30th annual conference.

Canadians generally remain confident in the safety of GMOs, but Mowling added one cannot ignore potential problems such as increasing calls for the labelling of GMO and non-GMO products. He noted while there is a hold in Canada on regulations to label products that have been changed in composition or ingredients relative to the traditional commodities, there is growing pressure to implement such rules. Mowling added corporations such as McDonald's are checking the support situation for non-GMO foods should EU fears completely spill - over into Canada. GMO worries in Canada revolve around their environmental impact, potential allergenic problems, skepticism of their safety, as well as the ethical and moral issues concerning the products, Mowling said. The distrust in Canada, however, is not nearly as great as that in Europe, as Canada was never directly affected by the "mad cow" disease problem, he noted.

Mowling added that the risks to consumer's confidence are unscientific media reports in Europe, and the personalized media attacks on biotechnology companies themselves. He noted surveys conducted by Monsanto suggest Canadians are more likely to accept GMO foods if the information about the products is linked to the improved dietary benefits they offer as well as their overall safeness. Trends show Canadian consumers want a variety of quality for a low price. Unlike the EU example, consumers in Canada are confident in their food supply and in assurances from the government that the food they buy is safe. Nevertheless, there remains a low awareness among Canadians about foods that have been modified genetically, which leaves the biotechnology industry particularly susceptible to "scare stories" from the EU, Mowling said. He noted there are regional information gaps, which are creating some confusion and alienation. Consequently, the industry needs to improve its effort in infor!
ming the media and physicians to the benefits of GMO foods, he stressed. Greater consumer access to information about GMOs from "trusted sources," such as academics, the government, and health professionals, would go a long way in promoting acceptance of the GMO products, Mowling concluded.


-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email:

Genet News