Bill to Label Genetically Engineered Foods: Will MPs vote for Monsanto or Canadians?

    OTTAWA, April 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Today the House of Commons will debate a
Private Member's Bill (C-517) proposed by Gilles-André Perron, Bloc Québécois
MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Iles. If adopted, this bill will legislate the
mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods (also called
genetically modified or GM). More than 40 countries across the world already
have adopted labeling laws including Europe, Russia and China.
    "We have a fundamental right to know what foods are genetically
engineered," said Tony Beck of the grassroots coalition GE Free BC.
    The Federal government has refused to establish mandatory labeling
despite years of polls that show 79% to 90% of Canadians and Québécois want
these labels. "Our government has tried everything to keep Canadian consumers
from having the ability to chose non-GE foods," said Beck.
    A Canadian standard for voluntary labeling of GE foods was released in
2003. "Of course no companies have ever voluntarily labeled their foods as
containing GE ingredients," said Sharon Labchuk of the P.E.I. Coalition for a
GMO-Free Province, "It is only mandatory labeling that will give consumers
choice in the grocery store."
    "Without mandatory labeling, Canadians have no tools to track potential
health effects from consuming GE foods," said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of
the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, "Canada hosted an international
conference on post-market surveillance which would have set up a system to
track GE foods and their health impacts, but the government abandoned this
project when it became clear that mandatory labeling would also be required."
    More independent scientific studies are raising health concerns about GE
foods. 216 contamination events with have been recorded raising additional
questions about health risks of GE food and GE crops in our environment. GE
soy, canola and corn are grown in Canada and end up as ingredients in most
processed foods that Canadians eat. "This Private Members Bill is an
outstanding chance for our Members of Parliament to listen to consumers and
support democracy and choice for consumers," said Josh Brandon, Agriculture
Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network, (613) 241 2267; Jessica Wilson, Communications,
Greenpeace Vancouver, cell: (778) 228-5404; Tony Beck, GE Free BC, (cell)
(604) 671-2106, (604) 671-2106; Sharon Labchuk, PEI Coalition for a GMO Free
Province, (cell) (902) 940-1262, (905) 621-0719

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