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Canadians Wary Of Altered Foods A recent Environics poll shows: <li>95 per cent of Canadians say consumers should be able to buy food not genetically engineered (GE).

Canadians Wary Of Altered Foods
A recent Environics poll shows:

  • 95 per cent of Canadians say consumers should be able to buy food not genetically engineered (GE).

  • 95 per cent believe GE foods should always be labelled as such.

  • 75 per cent of Canadians worry about the safety of GE foods.

  • 56 per cent lack confidence in the government’s ability to protect the safety and health of Canadians when it comes to GE foods.

Biotech Papaya Flops
Papayas genetically engineered to resist plant viruses are not as resistant as expected. In addition, the biotech papayas have a shorter life span. Because of the problems, GE papayas sell for 20 cents per pound, compared to 60 cents a pound for non-GE varieties.

Biotech Dumped on Third World
What will biotechnology firms do with biotech stocks that have been rejected by many consumers worldwide? These firms have received contracts to send their biotech stocks to international programs for malnutrition and famine relief.

"The agricultural monopolies are very cruel, knowing that starving people have little choice but to accept the food and be grateful even if our biological future is being slowly corrupted with dangerous technologies," says Rafael Mariano, chair of the Philippines Peasant Movement, in a condemnation of the deal.

Biotech Wheat Abandoned
The federal government has given up on plans of splicing a herbicide-tolerance gene into wheat. The government is responding to mounting consumer concern about genetic engineering.

Veggies with Rat Gene
Researchers have spliced a rat gene into broccolini to enhance vitamin C levels. Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and Chinese kale. Has science gone mad?

Biotech Apples Scrapped
The British Columbia government has abandoned plans to genetically modify apples to not discolor when cut open. The decision was in response to concerns from organic growers who were worried the biotech trees would cross-pollinate with organic trees, ruining their organic status.

Monsanto Plant Closed
Worldwide protests of genetically modified foods have forced the closure of a Monsanto plant in Crystal, Maine. The plant was producing potatoes genetically engineered to contain a toxin to kill insect pests.

Canadian Canola Contaminated
Europe is in uproar that canola sold by Canada to Europe as "non-genetically engineered" in 1999 contained genetically modified seeds. Farmers in France, Sweden, Germany and the UK unknowingly planted canola contaminated with modified seeds. Canadian exporter, Advanta Seeds, says the seeds were contaminated by accident, perhaps through cross-pollination.

In UK, around 500 farms were affected, with GE-contaminated seeds sown on roughly 1,350 acres in 1999 and 2000. In Sweden, 14 tonnes of contaminated canola were imported, which were planted on 4,400 acres. Some estimate the level of contamination at one per cent, though verification is underway.

In Sweden, farmers who used the affected seed are being ordered to destroy their crops. The contamination could put Canadian canola exports to Europe at risk, since Europe requires segregation and labelling of GE crops. Liability for the mix-up has yet to be determined.

Lower Yield from Altered Soy
University of Nebraska researchers found that yields for genetically engineered Roundup Ready soybeans were six percent less than their closest relatives and 11 percent less than high-yielding soybean varieties.

Codex Still Active
Codex is the international body that sets standards on international trade of food. The Codex Committee on Food Labelling meets in Ottawa annually.

Over the past few years at Codex, fewer and fewer countries joined the United States in blocking labelling of genetically engineered foods. At the May 2000 meeting, only Canada appeared to side with the USA. Other countries called for mandatory labelling.

Conference delegates also rejected moves to refer to genetic engineering as "modern biotechnology," an effort to make genetic engineering sound more palatable. The term "substantial equivalence" and similar jargon used to imply genetically engineered foods were somehow equivalent to conventional foods also came under attack. Over the coming year, a working group will develop labelling guidelines for countries that do decide to label.

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