Canada's plant science industry decries second reading passage of Bill C-474

OTTAWA, April 15 /CNW/ - The second reading passage of Bill C-474 is bad news for farmers, consumers and Canada's agricultural exports because, if passed, the Bill would put highly subjective and non-scientific criteria into the regulations governing innovation plant biotechnologies. Moving away from science-based regulation leaves our exports vulnerable to frivolous trade challenges and limits our ability to adopt valuable innovations for all Canadians.

"Canada has a long tradition of providing strong, science-based regulations that serve to assure farmers, consumers and export markets that the food being grown here in Canada is both safe and nutritious. Bill C-474 does nothing to enhance that," said Lorne Hepworth, president of CropLife Canada.

Farmers who choose to use plant biotechnology do so for many reasons including the technology's ability to increase yields and provide higher plant resistance to disease, weeds and pests. Plant biotechnology also helps the environment by enabling farmers to adopt conservation tillage (or no tillage) practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and moisture loss while conserving soil.

Researchers are currently working to develop plant biotechnologies that will enable farmers to adapt to the challenges they will face as climate change impacts become more evident and as consumer demand for healthier foods expands.

"Consumer friendly products like heart-healthy oils and trans fat replacements are delivering real benefits to Canadians. Under Bill C-474 it is possible that these benefits would have been withheld from the public for completely ideological reasons." Hepworth said. "Canada's government has a responsibility to provide strong, science-based regulations for plant science technologies as well as a responsibility to give farmers and consumers the freedom to access the best that innovation has to offer. Bill C-474 would stand in the way of that and jeopardize Canada's ability to take full advantage of new and beneficial technologies.

"Canada should be working hard to expand market access for our crops as we are doing now in China, Japan, the United States and other countries, not looking at ways to make it harder for Canada to benefit from innovation."

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.

SOURCE CropLife Canada

For further information: For further information: Nadine Sisk, P: (613) 230-9881 ext 3224, E: siskn@croplife.ca

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CropLife Canada

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