Parliament denies Canadians mandatory labelling of GE foods

Feature story - May 7, 2008
A private member’s bill giving consumers the right to know if the food sold in Canada contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients was defeated in the House of Commons today by a vote of 101 to 156. The defeat of Bill C-517 effectively protects the economic interests of GE companies like Monsanto over the rights of Canadians to know what they ea

Bill C-517 - Mandatory labelling of GMOs in Canada

"It's deplorable that a majority of MPs are in favour of spoon-feeding Canadians GE foods against their will,"; said Josh Brandon, Agriculture Campaigner with Greenpeace. "This vote ignores public opinion polls which have consistently shown between 80 and 95 per cent of Canadians want mandatory labelling of GE foods.";

Canadians have a reason to be cautious: GE foods have never been proven to be safe to either human health or the environment, and little independent research has studied the long-term effects of GE foods. The lack of independent research has been criticized by the Royal Society of Canada, whose 2001 expert panel report on biotechnology continues to be ignored by the federal government.

"In spite of the support of the Canadian public and available independent science, the genetic engineering lobby of Monsanto has again succeeded in blocking the right of consumers to know what's in their food,"; said Brandon. "Canada will continue to lag behind forty countries around the world, including the UK, France, China and Japan which already have mandatory labelling of GE foods.";

Greenpeace says the lack of federal leadership on the issue necessitates action from the provinces, and noted that a private member's bill in British Columbia could be tabled as soon as next week. The organization intends to publish the list of MPs whose votes benefited Monsanto and not consumers, as well as the elected officials who supported the right of consumers to say no to GE foods.