Controversial genetically engineered foods pervasive in Canadian diet

Former Agriculture Canada researcher warns of dangers of GMO crops, and advises what can be done.

You can’t see them and you can’t taste them, but they’re there, nonetheless. Hiding in that chocolate bar, that breakfast cereal, those corn chips.

They are genetically modified organisms, plant cells whose genes have been altered, generally to accommodate the use of the herbicide Round-up.

A talk on Friday in Salmon Arm from Thierry Vrain, a retired researcher with Agriculture Canada whose job was once to assure the public of the safety of GMO crops, underscored what many citizens concerned about genetically engineered foods have been voicing.

No testing, or inadequate testing is being done on genetically engineered (GE) foods and crops, meaning we humans are guinea pigs as the biotech industry takes control of the food supply by genetically engineering more plants in its quest to make more billions of dollars.

Vrain pointed out problems such as:  the technology produces ‘rogue’ genes that are potentially allergenic, toxic or dangerous; independent studies have shown GE crops can produce organ damage in mice and rats; the genes in engineered crops can spread to other plants and bacteria – and more.

He recommends eating organic foods from sustainable local farms rather than the products of industrial agriculture, lobbying local governments to join the other 22 municipalities in B.C. which have declared themselves GE-free, to ask grocery store managers where the non-engineered foods in their stores are, to avoid processed foods, to become educated about their food and about the difference between organic and natural.

While more than 60 countries have banned, labelled or regulated GMO foods or crops, Canada does not even required labelling. Vrain suggests there’s too much “civil obedience” in Canada and he would like to see people speak up to protect their health.

Excellent advice we would be wise to follow.

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