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TITLE:  Genetically engineered wheat declared undesirable in Sherbrooke
SOURCE: The Council of Canadians
        http://www.canadians.org/news_updates.htm?COC_token=
        1@@6a6f7b2f99e164c1c258aadc485ffec3&step=2&id=108
DATE:   Jun 18, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Genetically engineered wheat declared undesirable in Sherbrooke

SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC, June 18, 2003 - Should it approve the
commercialisation application submitted earlier this year to the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency by Monsanto Canada to distribute genetically
engineered wheat, the federal government would be directly responsible
for the nefarious consequences this decision would entail for Quebec
farmers, citizens and consumers.

During a press conference held today in Sherbrooke, the Council of
Canadians and its Sherbrooke Chapter, the Eastern Townships section of
Friends of the Earth as well as the Association coopérative d'économie
familiale de l'Estrie condemned the possible introduction of genetically
engineered wheat in Quebec fields. According to these groups, the large-
scale use of GE wheat will lead to the disappearance by contamination of
natural wheat currently grown and the loss of the right of reseeding from
the previous harvest. Long-term effects of GE wheat on health are
completely unknown, due to the lack of extensive research.

Given that the benefits of GE seeds when compared to the current crops
are highly doubtful, a yes to Monsanto Canada can be seen as throwing the
dice with potentially disastrous consequences.

"Approving GE wheat would have consequences that are not limited to
health safety concerns," says Nadège Adam, biotechnology campaigner for
the 100,000-member Council of Canadians. "A farmer's traditional right to
reuse part of the crop to seed the following year is also in jeopardy, as
this practice would infringe the patent. And farmers who think they can
go around this problem by switching back to natural seeds are faced with
a contamination problem that is impossible to contain."

Alain Robert, of the Association coopérative d'économie familiale de
l'Estrie agrees: "There is absolutely no evidence that genetically
engineered crops are more productive or beneficial to farmers. On the
other hand, the contamination of the neighbouring fields and the
subsequent loss of export markets such as Europe, which rejects GE food,
are two crucial disadvantages that can't be brushed aside."

André Nault, executive member of the Eastern Townships section of Friends
of the Earth, adds: "Survey after survey, Quebeckers massively oppose the
insidious infiltration of GE components in their food. They owe this
infiltration to the incestuous relationship that now links the federal
government to biotech giants such as Monsanto. These anti-democratic
practices have to cease immediately!"

Ottawa is expected to render its decision regarding the Monsanto Canada
application this fall.

-30-

For more information, please contact 
André Nault, Eastern Townships section, Friends of the Earth - 819.564.3175
Nadège Adam, Biotechnology Campaigner, Council of Canadians -
613.295.0432 (cell.)
Guy Caron, Media Relations, Council of Canadians - 613.233.4487 ext. 234

 


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