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Saving our daily bread

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Our daily bread has received a temporary reprieve

Our daily bread has received a temporary reprieve. Monsanto Canada isn't pursuing registration for their Roundup Ready Wheat varieties this year. This means even if regulatory agencies passed approval on the crop, it wouldn't be released.

Roundup Ready wheat has been genetically engineered (GE) for resistance to the herbicide Roundup. Monsanto applied for approval for its commercial release in Canada more than a year ago. Since then, groups such as the Sierra Club, the Council of Canadians, and Greenpeace have questioned not only what repercussions this would have on our wheat industry, but also point to potential health and environmental concerns. (To this end and arguably on the late side the US Department of Agriculture recently announced a comprehensive review of the environmental impact of GE crops.)

An estimated 70 percent of processed foods already contain common GE ingredients (e.g., soy, corn, and canola). Although GE foods are not labelled, polls show most Canadians support such an initiative.

Meanwhile, the GE wheat approval process is continuing, so public input is needed. To send a free fax to Prime Minister Paul Martin about this issue, visit greenpeace.ca. Also available online is "How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Food," which tells which brand names do, don't, and, most likely, contain GE ingridients.

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