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REGULATION /FOOD: Labeling of genetically engineered food:Consumers still kept in the dark



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Genetically engineered food: Consumers still kept in the dark
SOURCE: Greenpeace Canada, Canada
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/press/press-releases/
genetically-engineered-food-c
DATE:   02.05.2007
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Genetically engineered food: Consumers still kept in the dark

OTTAWA, Canada -- A wide coalition of international and Canadian groups
including a former federal environment minister have joined forces to
call on the Canadian government to give consumers mandatory labelling
and stop blocking an international agreement on the labelling of
Genetically Engineering (GE) foods.

A wide coalition of international and Canadian groups including a former
federal environment minister have joined forces to call on the Canadian
government to give consumers mandatory labelling and stop blocking an
international agreement on the labelling of Genetically Engineering (GE)
foods. These calls come at a crucial time when a UN meeting (CODEX
Alimentarius) gathers this week in Ottawa to discuss establishing an
international standard for GE labelling. Codex Alimentarius is the
international body that oversees food labelling.

The coalition includes Greenpeace, Consumers International, Option-
consommateurs, Union des consommateurs, Canadian Biotechnology Action
Network and Charles Caccia, a former federal environment minister.
Canada and the United States have long been prime culprits in blocking
global agreement on letting consumers know what they are eating.

'In North America, consumers in the US and Canada have to play a
guessing game. Even if over 40 countries have GE labelling rules in
place, it is essential that we have an internationally agreed labelling
regime that protects consumers everywhere. By continuing blocking
progress, Canada is undermining a fundamental right of consumers to know
what they are eating', said Michael Hansen from Consumers International
- an umbrella organization for Consumers associations worldwide.

'The right to know what we eat is fundamental, and it's baffling why the
federal government still refuses to acknowledge it? Instead, Canadian
consumers are stuck with voluntary labelling adopted three years ago by
Ottawa, which has failed to produce a single label 'with GE' said Nalini
Vaddapalli, of Option consommateurs.

For Charles Tanguay, of Union des consommateurs: 'it is totally
inacceptable that the federal government still refuses to implement
mandatory labels as Europe has done. In keeping Canada behind the pack,
the Conservative government is only increasing public concerns around GE
food. What is the government hiding from the public? 'When companies
voluntarily choose not to label, it's time for mandatory rules.'

"As Ottawa continues to be irresponsible, nothing stops provinces from
establishing their own mandatory labelling rules. By going ahead with GE
mandatory labelling, provinces like Quebec and British Columbia would
show leadership that Ottawa has not seen yet', said Eric Darier from
Greenpeace.

Charles Caccia said: 'If my private member´s Bill (C-287) had been
adopted in 2001, Canadians would have mandatory labeling now. This issue
is not going to go away and the government should give consumers the
right to know. Why are Canadian consumers deprived of their right to
know if food contains or not GMOs (genetically modified organisms)?"

Lucy Sharratt from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network said: 'it
is outrageous that the Harper government continues to block effort to
have international labelling standard across the world. Once again,
Canada´s reputation abroad is badly damaged.'

'When asked, a majority of American consumers (50%) are opposed to GE
food (compared to 25% that approved)(1). I am sure that if Canada could
put in place mandatory labelling of GE food, it would have positive
impact in the US. Americans will ask: if Canada and over 40 other
countries can have mandatory labelling, why can´t the US do the same ?"
said Philip Bereano from a 49th Parallel, a US-Canadian NGO.


Notes
(1) PEW Initiative on Food Biotechnology (Nov 2005) p. 2
http://pewagbiotech.org/research/2005update/


Further contact information for reporters to get video, photos or report
details
Jocelyn Desjardins Greenpeace Communication cell. +1 514 212-5749
Phil Bereano 49th Parallel cell. +1 206 235-5462
Charles Caccia Former Liberal MP Tel. +1 613 562-5800 X1041
Éric Darier Greenpeace cell. : +1 514 605-6497
Michael Hansen Consumer International +1 914 378-2452
Charles Tanguay Union des consommateurs cell. : +1 514 743-0419
Nalini Vaddapalli Option consommateurs cell. : +1 514 241-8162


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Tighten rules for genetically modified foods, Que. commission told
SOURCE: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada
AUTHOR:
URL:    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/04/27/gmo-labelling.html
DATE:   27.04.2007
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Tighten rules for genetically modified foods, Que. commission told

Genetically modified foods for sale in the marketplace should be better
regulated in the interests of the consumer, a collective of
environmentalists, farmers and activists argued before a Quebec
commission on the future of agriculture.

The group on Wednesday spoke to the Commission sur l'avenir de
l'agriculture et de l'agroalimentaire québécois in Montreal.

"Nothing has been done on liability, to make sure that those who
contaminate the environment and the food chain with GMOs are actually
liable," said Eric Darier, a spokesman for the environmental group Greenpeace.

"It's important why people should participate in those consultations,
because it doesn't happen very often that we get asked what kind of
agriculture we want, what kind of food we want," he said.

Genetically modified foods have been altered genetically to create
organisms that can resist disease or spur faster growth. Some critics
have said altering crops could endanger people's health, noting that all
such foods should be rigorously tested for toxins and allergens.


Group calls for mandatory labelling

Nalina Vaddapalli, representing the consumer advocacy group Option
consommateurs, called on Premier Jean Charest to keep his 2003 election
pledge to introduce mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods.

"They've done it in 45 countries because they recognize that a lot of
consumers want to get that information, and already a lot of industry in
Canada do it for the [export]," Vaddapalli said. "It's already in place,
so it's really a bit mind-boggling why it hasn't been done yet."

Health Canada has approved over 80 genetically modified foods for sale
in Canada, including corn, flax, potatoes, soy beans, tomatoes and canola.

The "Flavr Savr" tomato was the first genetically engineered food
available for sale in the U.S. in May 1994.

Scientists said they had successfully slowed the tomato's ripening
process, allowing for a firmer, fleshier fruit. Health Canada approved
the genetically engineered tomato in February 1995.


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