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         Genetically Engineered Crops

     "the deliberate release of  specific genes into a species to
               genetically modified organisms"

    Who are the players, what is at stake,
       ~~~  Are these crops safe for consumers?

In Canada

Consumers Associations

The Council of Canadians
With respect to genetically engineered foods: the life enhancing or life saving benefits must be demostratable; independent peer review must determine with scientific certainty no adverse impact for humans or the natural environment; GE products must be clearly labeled in order to permit informed choice. (1999)

The Citizens Conference on Food Biotechnology
Is this a beneficial technology for all society? Is this a safe technology? Can the use of this technology respect the individuality of mankind? We conclude that the answer is yes, if we make it so.  Our recommendations are intended to ensure that biotechnology belongs to us all. (1999)

Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors
CCGD is confident that the Canadian Novel Food Guidelines provide the assurance of safety of biotechnology products equal to that of all new foods entering the marketplace.   CCGD will provide a consistent approach to genetically modified foods, and provide creditable information.  CCGD will be involved in labeling in response to consumer inquiries and regulatory issues. (1998)

Consumers' Association of Canada
The consumer interest in biotechnology lies in the protection of consumers' rights to information, to safety, quality and choice to be heard and to participate in decision making as applications of biotechnology are developed in healthcare and food protection. (1989)

The Scientific Community

Union of Concerned Scientists
UCS promotes an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture system, believing the current industrial nature of modern agriculture is not sustainable.  UCS attempts to evaluate new technologies for their potential to advance sustainable agriculture and to ensure that the products of technology are properly regulated.

The Producers

Canadian Organic Growers
Canadian Organic Growers believes that genetically engineering (GE) contradicts the tenets of organic growing and is detrimental to environmental stability and food quality.   GE plants, seeds, pollen, microbes and DNA threaten the natural complexity on which organic agriculture and the food system is based.  Inadequate research has been done on the potential long term hazards on the environment and on humans by the introduction of GE into the food system. (1999)

Agriculture Institute of Canada
The Agriculture Institute of Canada (AIC) supports the responsible use of biotechnology as a tool for the advancement of science and technology towards a more sustainable future. (1998)

Farmers see new technologies as tools to further their goal of producing an abundance of wholesome, nutritious food, with the added benefits of reducing input costs and environmental effects.  Why and how biotechnology products are used will vary from farm to farm to meet the specific management needs of the farmer to meet this goal. (1988)

Canadian Federation of Agriculture
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture recognizes in principle the rational and responsible use of new technologies in agriculture and agri-food.  Included in these new technologies is the development and use of genetically modified plants. (1994)

The Regulators

Global Regulators

The Convention on Biological Diversity's objectives are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." The Convention is thus the first global, comprehensive agreement to address all aspects of biological diversity: genetic resources, species, and ecosystems. It recognizes - for the first time - that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and an integral part of the development process. To achieve its objectives, the Convention - in accordance with the spirit of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development - promotes a renewed partnership among countries. Its provisions on scientific and technical cooperation, access to genetic resources, and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies form the foundations of this partnership.

For a report on the January 2000  Montreal Meeting

In the United States

Under FDA policy developers of bioengineered foods are expected to consult with the agency before marketing, to ensure that all safety and regulatory questions have been fully addressed. FDA’s policy also requires special labeling for bioengineered foods under certain circumstances. For example, a bioengineered food would need to be called by a different or modified name if its composition were significantly different from its conventionally grown counterpart, or if its nutritive value has been significantly altered. Special labeling would be required if consumers need to be informed about a safety issue, such as the possible presence of an allergen that would not normally be found in the conventionally-grown product.

FDA has a new initiative to engage the public about foods made using bioengineering. This initiative will begin with a series of public meetings in November and December, 1999.

Persons wishing to submit comments,  please
e-mail Genetically Engineered Crops

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tdc Marketing and Management Consultation