Letters

Organic agriculture threatened by plan

An open letter to Colin Mayes, MP:

I am writing to state my strong opposition to federal government plans to allow so-called “Low Level Presence” of unapproved genetically engineered (GE or genetically modified, GM) foods in the Canadian food supply. This plan would not only undermine the work of Health Canada, but would undermine the entire organic agriculture industry in Canada, which is a major part of the overall industry and which is growing at about 20 per cent per year.

It is unacceptable that our government would allow a percentage of GM foods into Canada that have not been approved by Health Canada. It is unacceptable to undermine the work of farmers all over Canada, and to endanger the livelihoods of organic farmers/processors and rural economies.

Canadian regulation for GM foods is already inadequate and there is no labelling and traceability of GM foods in Canada. The proposal to allow a percentage of GM foods that have not even been approved by Health Canada will destroy any last trust that I and fellow Canadians might have in our food supply.

As an organic farmer and processor, it is vital that I can depend on a supply of uncontaminated supplies, including livestock feed, spices, brewing ingredients and processing aids. Allowing GM contamination will destroy my ability to function as an organic brewer, and will ruin my business. We have spent 12 years building our business as Canada’s first certified organic, on-farm brewery, and this allowance would prevent us from being organic, and therefore destroy our business, causing our employees to lose their jobs and undermining the local economy to which we contribute significantly.

I demand that Agriculture Canada reject a policy of “Low Level Presence” and reaffirm “zero-tolerance” for any contamination by GM foods not evaluated and approved by Health Canada. Instead of introducing LLP, the government should fully reform our regulation of GM foods, start a national consultation on genetic engineering in plants and animals, and establish mandatory labelling of all GM foods.

 

 

Rebecca Kneen

Crannóg Ales / Left Fields, Sorrento

 

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