Community Papers

Forum explores effects of genetic modification of foods

Moms Lucy Nickel (left) and Bobbie Blair are hosting a forum on health at the Fraser River Presentation Theatre Nov. 8. The pair stand with Jeffery Smith, author of Seeds of Deception. - Submitted photo
Moms Lucy Nickel (left) and Bobbie Blair are hosting a forum on health at the Fraser River Presentation Theatre Nov. 8. The pair stand with Jeffery Smith, author of Seeds of Deception.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Turning a blind eye to genetically engineered food could be very bad for your health, say two Langley mothers.

Bobbie Blair and Lucy Nickel say they have embraced such an important cause because they want to educate people about the serious effects new genetically engineering technology will have on food.

“Over the last few years, we both became aware of a new kind of food that has been quietly incorporated into our processed foods: GMOs,” Blair said.

“People who embrace this cause are usually very passionate about it, and by reaching out, we not only found each other, we found many other concerned individuals as well as local groups,” she added.

These include the Society For a G.E. Free B.C. and the Council Of Canadians. The two non-profit societies have arranged the Community Forum on Genetically Modified Food which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Fraser River Presentation Theatre in Township Hall, 20338 65 Ave. Speakers will explain what it is, outline the impact on health and the environment, and suggest what people can do about it.

The event will feature Lucy Sharratt, a national expert on the subject. Sharratt, from Ottawa’s belongs to C-BAN, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. She will offer a presentation and answer questions from the public.

Harold Steves, respected as the architect of the Agricultural Land Reserve, will also be a guest. He is a councillor in Richmond which earlier this year declared itself a G.E. free zone.

Phil Harrison will talk of his goal to bring about community awareness in Surrey, focusing on the impact of growing genetically modified crops in the district.

“It is time we engage in honest, open discussions about new technologies that can have huge long-term effects in many ways,” Blair said.

Of particular concern is the Arctic apple, a genetically engineered apple that does not brown.

“Nature gives us a sign that fruit is starting to decompose so that we won’t eat it. The benefit  to the grower is obvious: They will be able to sell fruit that is bruised and or starting to rot, make more profits, and it may end up in the pie that you feed your family,” Blair said.

Two weeks after the Nov. 8 forum, the first of three films will be screened at the Fraser River Presentation Theatre. Tickets are $6.50 at the door will for each film or $15 for all three.

The films are:

* The Future of Food — Nov 22.  Filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia provides a comprehensive picture of just how quickly and radically our food system is changing. This is about the history of seed saving, who the corporate giants within the biotech industry are, and relates stories from several farmers that demonstrate how this has affected their industry.

* Genetic Roulette — Nov. 29. Best-selling author and journalist Jeffery Smith offers a film that discusses the health risks associated with foods that incorporate ingredients from plants that have been genetically altered in a laboratory.

Smith, author of Seeds Of Deception, is a leading advocate against GMO food.

* Ingredients: The Film — Dec 6. This depicts the counter-revolution that is taking place in response to the radical change in the North American food system.

Shows are at 7 p.m.

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