GENET archive


REGULATION & FOOD: Greenpeace Canada calls for mandatory labelling of genetically-modified food

                                  PART 1

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SOURCE: The Vancouver Sun, Canada



DATE:   08.08.2007

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Greenpeace has released a report warning of the dangers of genetically-engineered food and calling on the provincial government to introduce mandatory labelling laws. The jury is still out on how bad genetically-engineered crops like corn, soy and canola are for human and environmental health, said Greenpeace agriculture campaigners at a press conference today. ”We don’t how toxic it is, but we believe that the precautionary approach should hold,” said Josh Brandon. ”On the other hand, we’ve found studies now in three different varieties of genetically-engineered corn showing that these varieties are either toxic in rats or cause kidney and liver differences in rats.” Brandon called on Gordon Campbell to follow the lead of the European Union, which introduced strict labelling laws in 2004. In Canada, a voluntary standard exists for labelling and advertising genetically-engineered food, but Greenpeace says not a single product has yet been labelled as containing genetically-modified organisms. In September 2006, an Ipsos-Reid survey revealed that 73 per cent of British Columbians said if they were food shopping in a grocery store and the food they wanted to purchase was genetically-modified or contained genetically-modified ingredients, they would be less likely to buy the product.

                                  PART 2

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SOURCE: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada



DATE:   08.08.2007

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Group calls on B.C. to require mandatory GMO labelling

Greenpeace activists cut a 61-metre-long question mark inside a crop circle in an Abbotsford, B.C., cornfield Wednesday morning, in protest of the absence of genetically engineered food labelling in Canada.

The question mark was to signify all the questions around the safety of genetically engineered corn — both from its consumption and its potential spread to nearby organic farms, said Josh Brandon, a genetic engineering campaigner with Greenpeace in B.C.

The cornfield Greenpeace targeted grows a variety of corn — genetically engineered by the agricultural company Monsanto — known as NK603 corn.

Brandon said they submitted a Greenpeace report to B.C. Health Minister George Abbott on Wednesday, pointing to new scientific evidence that they say highlights the dangers of genetically modified corn.

”These data were from a rat feeding study,” he said. ”They showed that the rats that were fed with [genetically engineered] corn NK603 showed statistically significant differences compared to the rats that were fed the non-[genetically engineered] corn.”

The corn proved toxic to the rats’ liver and kidneys, and impaired their growth, he said.

The genetically engineered corn is being grown in B.C. primarily for the animal feed market, and even if it’s just fed to animals, it will work its way through the food chain to humans, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace is calling on the B.C. government to require mandatory genetically modified organism labelling.

”We’re asking the ministers to put consumers first and put labels on [genetically engineered] products,” Brandon said. ”People have the right to know what’s in their food, especially when so many [genetically engineered] foods on our store shelves have been associated with health risks.”

Canada does not require labelling of GMO foods, which Greenpeace said is putting the nation in a shrinking group of countries worldwide.

Health Canada’s website says this about labelling of genetically modified foods: ”In principle, food products derived from genetic modification that are demonstrated to be safe and nutritious, are treated the same as non-genetically modified foods with regard to labelling requirements.

”In cases where a product has been intentionally modified, special labelling is required to inform consumers of the change to the product.”

About 40 countries around the world already have mandatory labelling legislation, Brandon said.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace is promising to compensate the Abbotsford farmer for the full market value of the loss due to the circle, Brandon said.

                                  PART 3

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SOURCE: Greenpeace Canada, Canada

AUTHOR: Press Release


DATE:   08.08.2007

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please download the three recent Greenpeace reports at:



ABBOTSFORD, BC, Canada — Early on the morning of August 8th, Greenpeace activists labelled a genetically engineered (GE) corn field near Abbotsford, B.C. with a 61 metre question mark to highlight the absence of GE food labelling in Canada. Also, Greenpeace wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are many remaining questions about the safety of genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering is an unpredictable and untested technology which new scientific evidence shows may result in toxic corn entering the food system. Canada is one of a handful of countries that practice GE on a commercial scale, and that lack mandatory labelling.

Check out high resolution photos of the action at

If the government will not label GE food, Greenpeace will take initiative, locate GE fields and label the crops through actions like this. Canada grows over 5.8 million hectares of GE crops, including 820,000 hectares of GE corn. That’s an area of GE crops more than twice the size of Vancouver Island. We are one of the top producers of GE worldwide along with USA, Argentina, and Brazil. Forty countries around the world already have mandatory GE labelling in place. This action puts the government of B.C., as well as ministers across the country on notice that we expect results on our key demand for mandatory labelling of all genetically engineered foods.

The field you see in these pictures is within a few kilometres of organic farms, an elementary school and along a route promoted by the local chamber of commerce as a pastoral ”Circle Farm Tour.” But there is nothing idyllic about genetic engineering. GE spreads and contaminates other crops. Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK have documented 142 incidents of contamination in the past 10 years. The herbicides which GE crops are designed to work with destroy local vegetation and reduce the biodiversity of the environment. New evidence shows Monsanto’s herbicide Round Up can disrupt sexual hormones even at what are considered ”non-toxic levels”. GE is not safe for the environment.


Take Action

1)Write an email to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell at, asking him to put in place mandatory labelling legislation. Here is a sample letter you can use. Should B.C. or Quebec adopt mandatory labelling it will put pressure on other provinces and the federal government to follow suit.

2) Contact Chuck Strahl, federal Minister of Agriculture, and demand that GE corn be taken off the market in view of recent scientific evidence.

3) If you live in B.C., download our petition, sign it, distribute it in your community and return it to Greenpeace at 1726 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4A3.

4) If you live in Quebec, please send an e-mail to Jean Charest asking him to keep his promise on mandatory GE labelling (in French).


Health and GMOs

GE might not be good for human health either. Tests done on corn growing in the field indicated that it contained a type of Monsanto GE corn known as NK603. This product was the subject of a study by the French independent research institute CRIIGEN which found signs of toxicity in rat feeding trials. Rats fed the GE corn NK603 had statistically significant differences in their kidneys and livers as well as unusual growth rates. This research follows on the publication of a study in the peer reviewed publication Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology showing further signs of toxicity in rats for another variety of Monsanto’s GE corn MON863. The study authors concluded: ”with the present data it can not be concluded that GM corn MON863 is a safe product.” Both these studies were based on safety test data Monsanto submitted to European regulatory authorities. Greenpeace obtained these data through a German court order and turned them over to CRIIGEN for independent analysis in 2005. This controversy puts into question the degree of seriousness of government regulatory processes, as already well documented in the 2001 Royal society of Canada report. In a response addressed to Greenpeace on July 24, 2007, the federal ministry of Agriculture refused to change policy despite recent scientific analysis that Greenpeace submitted to them in a letter dated April 12 2007.

Along with the two studies by CRIIGEN, a third study by Norwegian scientists found another variety of GE corn, MON810 to cause immune responses in salmon. This recent spate of studies on the health effects of GE confirms Greenpeace’s warnings that GE should not be released into the environment or into the food system. Greenpeace has compiled extensive evidence of the potential health dangers of GE in a submission to the B.C. Conversation on Health, a public consultation led by the B.C. ministry of health.

Forty countries around the world already have mandatory labelling legislation, including Europe, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Last year, the Quebec government released a report showing that the cost of GE labelling would be only a fraction of previous estimates done by industry and the B.C. Provincial Health Officer recommended mandatory labelling in his annual report. Recent polls in Quebec and B.C. have shown overwhelming support for mandatory labelling of GE foods. In Quebec, a Leger Marketing poll released in May showed 86 per cent support for mandatory labelling. A Strategic Communications poll released in January showed 79 per cent of British Columbians want mandatory labelling before the next provincial election.

There are too many question marks around GE.

                                  PART 4

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SOURCE: CropLife Canada, Canada

AUTHOR: Press Release


DATE:   08.08.2007

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Toronto, August 8, 2007 – Opinions surrounding the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods must be based on conclusive scientific facts, not the results of one study, the trade association representing Canada’s plant science industry said today.

”Genetically modified foods and the crops from which they are derived are some of the most extensively studied food products in the world,” says Denise Dewar, Executive Director of Plant Biotechnology for CropLife Canada. ”GM foods have been safely consumed for over a decade.”

Countless studies by international organizations have concluded that genetically modified crops pose no risk to human health and the environment. A report from the European Union concludes ”the use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make them even safer than conventional plants and foods.”

The World Health Organization states ”no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”

To ensure that our food is safe and nutritious, Canada has one of the most rigorous and well-respected regulatory approval processes in the world. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada ensure the safety of our food. In establishing science-based regulation of these products in Canada, Health Canada’s guidelines reflect recent international standards, which are based on scientific principles developed over the last 10 years through expert international consultation with agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

”The call for mandatory labelling of GM food would ultimately impose greater costs to growers, manufacturers and consumers and it is difficult and expensive to enforce,” said Dewar. ”In many countries that have adopted the system, it has failed to provide consumers with choice.”

Canada’s agricultural biotechnology sector is an important part of the country’s growing bio-economy, and GM crops allow farmers to grow plants that are more nutritious, achieve higher crop yields and provide more options to manage weeds and insects.

CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations — pest control products and plant biotechnology — for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings.



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