Saturday, April 12, 2008

Canada's Bill C-517 to mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods

Earlier this afternoon, I first heard of Bloc Québecois MP Gilles A. Perron's recently introduced private member's bill (Bill C-517) to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods (aka genetically modified foods or foods containing GMOs). I heard about it listening to Kootenay Co-op Radio's April 10, 2008 "Deconstructing Dinner" podcast on the recent House of Commons debate over Bill C-517. Click here to read a full transcript of this debate. This bill was first debated on April 3 -- over a week ago. I'd like to think that I keep my ear to the ground. I try to stay up to date on news pertaining to goings on in the land of biotech agriculture. Wondering how I missed this altogether, I did a Google News search for C-517 and found one single news article mentioning it, and guess what? It wasn't in mainstream news, even though it's quite probably one of the most important bills to come up for debate in years that would directly impact consumer freedom for Canadians.

Today, 40 countries around the world including China, Russia and those in the EU have mandatory labeling of GMOs in food. Why doesn't Canada?
According to the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), 10 years of polling have shown that over 80% of Canadians want their food to be labeled as such if it contains GMOs, yet the only thing that exists now in Canada is voluntary labeling. Companies are free to list ingredients or foods as not containing genetically engineered non-GMO (or non genetically engineered), but I've yet to see a company come forward to assert that its product actually does contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Green Peace Canada has information and recommendations on how you can easily let your MP know today that you want her (or him) to vote in favour of mandatory labeling -- to give you
the consumer the right to choose whether or not genetically engineered foods end up on your dinner plate. Or on your children's dinner plates. All it takes is a quick phone call or email to your MP. This bill will be getting a second reading before the end of the month and then a vote will be taken in the House of Commons. Consumers need to take action now, before it's too late to be heard!

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