Saturday, July 7, 2012

Richmond passes ban

Richmond resists pitch from biotech group, passes ban on GE crops
The Vancouver Sun
July 07, 2012

Richmond council stuck to its guns, ratifying its ban on genetically modified plants and crops.

Biotech lobby group CropLife Canada sent a representative to speak to council before the vote. Several hundred people turned out for the meeting, many of them carrying signs opposing genetically modified organisms — popularly known as GMOs or GE crops — and calling for labelling of foods with GE ingredients.

CropLife spokeswoman Janice Tranberg told council that biotech crops and foods are carefully regulated in Canada and are tested by scientists around the world.

“I don’t feel that they consulted all the experts that they could have to get a balanced point of view,” she said after the meeting.

In addition to banning GE plants and crops from Richmond, council’s motion calls on senior levels of government to require such foods to be labelled to support informed consumer choice. Richmond will also include fact-based information about GMOs in its own communications with the public.

Rossland, Kaslo, Nelson, Powell River and Saltspring Island have also passed motions opposing genetically modified organisms within their boundaries.

Richmond Food Security Society spokeswoman Arzeena Hamir urged council to follow through with the ban, which she first pitched to council two years ago. She cited concerns about the safety of eating foods derived from GE crops and the lack of long-term studies into the health implications of eating GMOs.

CropLife Canada president Lorne Hepworth responded to a recent article by Hamir on the CropLife website saying that GM crops “enjoy a remarkable safety record, having been cultivated for well over a decade and eaten by billions of people worldwide.

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