Genetically Engineered Crops
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?
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.
The Scientific Community
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.
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)
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.
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)
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 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
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. FDAs 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.