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Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods

by Stephanie Taylor

Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods
Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods
Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods
Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods
Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods
Nova Scotians call for a ban on genetically modified foods

For Wooden Monkey restaurant co-founder Lil MacPherson, the fight for healthy food starts with the quality of a seed. 

“The biggest threat to the food systems on this planet are genetically modified organisms,” she said. 

On Saturday, MacPherson led a crowd of nearly 200 people on a march from Victoria Park to Grand Parade to call for a permanent boycott on all genetically modified organisms (GMO) and harmful chemicals in food. 

She was one of the co-organizers of Halifax’s March Against Monsanto, which was part of an international protest that took place in more then 50 countries and 400 cities worldwide. 

Monsanto Company is a multinational chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation that is the leading producer of genetically engineered seeds and herbicides. 

They are known as the creators of DDT and Agent Orange. 

MacPherson says approximately 80 to 90 per cent of all corn produced in Nova Scotia contains GMOs. To her, these facts are not only startling but are reasons for an emergency wake up call. 

“The rest of the world is going towards organic and clean (food) and we’re not, so we need to catch up. I don’t want to be left behind as a province,” she said. 

Between 60 and 70 per cent of all processed foods contain genetically modified products, MacPherson said. 

More than 64 countries have various types of mandatory GMO labelling food laws, including China and Russia, according to the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. 

“Either the world is mad, or we’re not mad enough,” says actor and activist Bill Carr. 

He said he rallied on Saturday not as a food expert, but as a father and a consumer. 

“We have a right to know what we’re putting in our bodies,” he said. “The least we’re asking for the food be labelled so as consumers we can make a choice.” 

There are currently no food labelling laws in Canada. 

 In 2011, NDP Member of Parliament Alex Atamaneko tabled Bill C-257 to amend the Food and Drugs Act to ask for mandatory labelling of all genetically food and ingredients. 

The bill would require the health minister to establish names of all genetically modified foods be published on list available to the public. It would also be legally require all food sold in stores to have proper GMO labelling on packaging. 

“Consumers have the right to know what’s in their food,” said Mary-Ellen Sullivan, who carried a petition to re-introduce the bill. 

In eight polls between 1994 and 2001, the Canadian Biotechology Action Network said more than 80 per cent of Canadians wanted labelling.

“We don’t know what’s going into out food and that’s one of the biggest problems,” Carr said. 

For more information on GMO labelling of Canadian food products, see the Non-GMO Project.

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Topics: Food
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