Action urged on UBCM motion about GMO food

Rise of health problems appear to follow a similar rise in consumption of genetically engineered food in our diet

In the industrialized world, studies identify the U.S. and Canada to have the costliest health care and yet, life expectancy is considered among the lowest, while cases of obesity, diabetes, autism and cancer are higher. Rise of health problems appear to follow a similar rise in consumption of genetically engineered food in our diet, along with an increase in their matching pesticide use in our environment.

Canada approves GMO without conducting independent tests on their safety. Instead, it bases its decision on data provided by the maker of the food. This is a clear case of conflict of interest.

So, B.C. has taken a lead, with 62 municipalities passing resolutions to declare themselves as GE free zones.

Further, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities at their AGM in September is planning to vote on a resolution to declare the entire province to be GE (GMO) free.

The resolution reads: “that UBCM ask the British Columbia government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE animals within B.C., and to declare, through legislation, that B.C. is a GE-free area in respect to all plant and animal species.

Here are three important sources of information on GMO:

1. GMO Myths and Truths, a synthesis of 600 scientific studies on GMO at http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58.

2. TED Talk given by geneticist Dr. Thierry Vrain, who doubts the safety behind GMO: www.youtube.com/watch? v=RQkQXyiynYs.

3. Report prepared for Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Environment Canada, on GMO. It stresses the need for rigorous testing of GMO prior to approval, recommendations that are not being followed, at http://rsc-src.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/GMreportEN.pdf.

I appeal to readers to raise this issue, engage in public discussion, and request their councils to vote in favour of the resolution.

Tony Mitra