Tag Archives: GMO Health Risks

The Canadian Fight for GMO Labelling is Winning

8 Jun

Ladies and gentlemen, keep up the great work. We are wearing away at the deceitful, corporate controlled Canadian government who is not looking out for the health of you and your family but the health of big business bank accounts.

How do I know we are making progress? Simple. The single serve generic responses I have received back from Health Canada and the CFIA have changed over the past year to now mention that Organic Certification is the only way to ensure that the food you eat does not contain any Genetically Modified Ingredients whatsoever in Canada.

Here is the first response I received back from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on July 7, 2012 when I asked why GMO labelling was not mandatory in Canada:

Hello,

The food safety evaluation of novel foods (including products of genetically modified foods) is the responsibility of Health Canada.

You can read about the review process that Health Canada uses at
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/gmf-agm/index-eng.php

A list of approved products is on their site at
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/gmf-agm/appro/index-eng.php

Mandatory labelling is required when genetically engineered products have a significant health, safety or compositional change (as determined by Health Canada). To date, no products approved for sale in Canada have triggered the need for mandatory labelling.

There is a standard in place for labelling of foods that are products of biotechnology and foods that want to make a claim in regard to being free of biotechnology. Information on the Standard for Voluntary Labelling and Advertising of Foods That Are and Are Not Products of Genetic Engineering can be found at:
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/novnou/voletie.shtml

At this time, no changes in labelling policy in regard to food products of biotechnology are anticipated.

For questions and comments about genetically modified (GM) foods and other novel foods, contact food-aliment@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Thank you for using the CFIA web site.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Web Inquiries Team

And almost a year later, here is the response I received back from Health Canada’s Novel Foods Section, Evaluation Division and the Bureau for Microbial Standards:

Thank you for your correspondence on May 31, 2013 regarding the safety and labelling of genetically-modified (GM) food in Canada.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the safety of the Canadian food supply.  As part of this commitment, Health Canada conducts a rigorous and thorough science-based assessment of all GM food products before they are allowed to enter the Canadian food supply.  GM foods are considered “novel foods” and are regulated under Division 28 of the Food and Drug Regulations (F&DR), which prohibits manufacturers of these products from selling them in Canada until Health Canada has completed a full safety assessment and found them to be as safe and nutritious as conventional foods.  All novel foods approved for sale in Canada have undergone this thorough assessment to ensure that they are wholesome, nutritious, and safe to eat.

The full safety assessment of the product involves a rigorous scientific evaluation and GM foods are only approved after Health Canada’s scientists are satisfied that the data provided by the applicants addresses all health and safety concerns and meets regulatory requirements.  Companies are required to test their products according to the requirements and submit high calibre data demonstrating compliance.  In-depth analysis is conducted of the data and of the methods used to ensure validity of the results.  If the evaluators determine that the data is not sufficient, additional information and/or testing will be requested in order to fully demonstrate the safety of the product.  Evaluators may also supplement the information provided by the petitioner with any published data in Canada or internationally that is relevant to the product in question.  The scientific review involves how the food was developed, a comparison of the compositional and nutritional information with non-modified counterparts, and an examination of the food’s potential to be or to contain a toxin or allergen.

For more information regarding the scientific evaluation process and Health Canada’s policies regarding novel foods, please visit our website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/gmf-agm/index-eng.php

Health Canada and the CFIA share the federal responsibility for food labelling policies under the Food and Drugs Act. In accordance with its mandate, Health Canada is responsible for food labelling policies with respect to health and safety. The Department requires mandatory labelling of all food products, including GM foods, where there are clear scientifically established health risks or significant nutritional changes, which can be mitigated through labelling. General provisions for food labelling to address non-health or safety considerations, such as how the food is produced, are the responsibility of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The Government of Canada recognizes that the labelling of foods derived from biotechnology has become an important issue for Canadians. To this end, Health Canada worked actively with the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors and the Canadian General Standards Board to develop a Canadian voluntary standard for labelling of genetically engineered foods.  Other partners in this process included consumer groups, food companies, producers, environmental groups, general interest groups and other government departments. The standard “Voluntary labelling and advertising of foods that are and are not products of Genetic Engineering” was adopted as a national standard by the Standards Council of Canada in April 2004.  It provides guidance to food companies to address the consumers demand for the labelling of genetically engineered foods in Canada.  More detail on this initiative is available on the Public Works and Government Services Canada website

http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ongc-cgsb/programme-program/normes-standards/internet/032-0315/index-eng.html

If you choose to avoid consuming foods that may be derived from a GM food source, you may do so by consuming organic food products. Canada’s Organic Products Regulations (OPR), which came into force on June 30, 2009, set out rigorous standards for the certification of products as organic by accredited certification bodies. Organic products are determined in accordance with the “Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards” released by the Canadian General Standards Board. The standard states that all materials and products produced from genetic engineering (i.e., GM foods) are not compatible with the general principles of organic production and therefore not accepted under the standard. Also, products that meet the production requirements and contain at least 95 per cent organic content may be labelled as “organic” and feature the new Biologique Canada Organic Logo. This provides Canadians with more choice when it comes to the food they purchase and consume.

If you feel that the current legislation concerning the labelling of GM foods (i.e., the standard for voluntary labelling) should be changed, please contact your local Member of Parliament (MP).

Thank you for writing.

Novel Foods Section/Section des Aliments Nouveaux
Evaluation Division/Division de l’évaluation
Bureau of Microbial Hazards/Bureau de Dangers Microbiens
Food Directorate/Direction des Aliments
Health Products and Food Branch/Direction Général des Produits de Santé et des Aliments
Health Canada/Santé Canada
251 Promenade Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Centre de recherche Sir Frederick Banting Research Centre 2204E
4th Floor West, Tunney’s Pasture/ 4e etage, Pre Tunney
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Notice the length?

Not only does the second email from Health Canada go into more detail, a lot more detail, it  highlights an extremely important fact previously unseen in the first email from the CFIA – “If you choose to avoid consuming foods that may be derived from a GM food source, you may do so by consuming organic food products.”

Why should you be concerned about eating GMO foods and feeding them to your children in the first place?

So why the risk? Explaining how GMO strains have been engineered in the first place sheds light on how our food is being produced. There are two primary GMO technologies which Monsanto has introduced into corn and soy crops in North America:

  1. The first technique inserts the DNA from bacteria into the target crop so that the crop will produce its own insecticide. The name given to the corn variety is Bt Corn. The result is vermin and insects will not feed on the plants. If that crop becomes poisonous to other animals should we believe that those same plants should not be poisonous to humans?
  2. The second technique also mixes the DNA of a bacteria with that of the target crop this time however so that the crop can withstand what would otherwise be a lethal dose of herbicide. The most common form of this type of GMO crop is Roundup Ready Soy. The result is entire crops can be sprayed with an increased amount of Roundup (Glyphosphate) herbicide to kill the surrounding weeds yet the crop survives. Ready for a poison soaked corn on the cob?

So there you have it. The “safe” GMO that is on your plate has either been spewing out its own toxic pesticide or has been drenched with a larger dose than ever of a toxic herbicide.

Dinner is served…

The time to act is now. If our government officials feel that GMOs are safe, why not label them so that we the people may make our own decisions regardless? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces rules and regulations stipulated by Health Canada therefore please contact Health Canada and your local MP should you feel the need to address your concerns regarding GMOs and the lack of transparency of labelling food products in Canada.

Policy change is slow. As great change is on the horizon, there are winners and losers. There are those who welcome it, and those who lament it. But as you can see from the standardized, nameless government responses above, change is occurring however slow it may be. The public awakening and pressure being exerted on our government officials is working. Let your voice be heard.

In the meantime, if you want to ensure the health of yourself and your family, eat organic. Here is a very helpful shopping resource as you begin your journey: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

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