GE Free Comox Valley

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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Debunking the pro-GE Myths:

This is a great website for information about GE Myths.

Tell USDA to reject the GE apple!

Tell USDA to reject the GE apple!

Tell USDA to Reject this GE Apple! Comments are due December 9th, so please sign the petition today:

Write to the Minister today to Stop GE Salmon Eggs

Write to the Minister today to Stop GE Salmon Eggs

You can write to the Minister today

Canada’s Approval of GM Fish Eggs Threatens Environment, Groups Say

November 25, 2013. Ottawa. Canada’s approval of commercial production of genetically modified (GM) Atlantic salmon eggs is an alarming decision that sets Canada up to be the source of global environmental risk, says the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Islanders Say No to Frankenfish.

“We are extremely disappointed and alarmed that our government has approved the production of GM fish eggs. GM salmon egg production in Canada endangers the future of wild Atlantic salmon around the world,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “Its simply crazy that the world’s first GM fish eggs are now going to be coming from Canada.”

The Environment Canada approval, published on November 23 in the Canada Gazette, is the first government approval for the company AquaBounty. The company has asked for approval of the GM Atlantic salmon for human consumption in the U.S., based on a plan to produce the GM fish eggs in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada and ship them to Panama for grow-out and processing.

“We’re devastated that Prince Edward Island is now officially the home of the Frankenfish,” said Leo Broderick of the Prince Edward Island (PEI) group called Islanders Say No to Frankenfish, “We don’t want our Island to be the source of this dangerous living pollution.”

The PEI facility already produces GM salmon eggs for research, which are shipped to the company’s Panama location for further research and development. If fully approved for production and consumption, the GM salmon would be the first GM food animal in the world.

“Its unacceptable that this incredibly important decision was made in total secrecy and without any public consultation,” said Sharratt.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network has repeatedly asked Environment Canada, the Minister of the Environment, and AquaBounty to say if an assessment for approval of the GM fish eggs was underway. All parties refused to answer this question for public disclosure. 

“This isn’t the international image we want for our beautiful Island,” said Broderick.

Just last week, on November 21, an environmental group in Panama filed a complaint alleging that AquaBounty’s research and development of the GM fish, using eggs sent from PEI, was not in compliance with national and international environmental regulations.



Natural News have teamed up with Infomatic Films to produce a cartoon video all about genetically modified organisms and how good they are – well, for Big Pesticide anyway. “GMOS, changing the human genome one meal at a time!”

Read more:

Win or Lose, State GMO Labeling Initiatives Are Changing the Game

Win or Lose, State GMO Labeling Initiatives Are Changing the Game
Read Dr. Mercola’s article on GMO Labelling

The GMO labeling campaigns in California and Washington State have done what no one organization could ever have accomplished by itself. They’ve created a mounting wave of awareness across the US, awakening millions of Americans to the issues surrounding GMOs. State by state, we will continue to push for labeling, and it’s just a matter of time before the industry’s expensive PR machine won’t be able to confuse voters any more.

Read Full Article  

Hunger for GE Information

The hunger for information about what is in our food, and what is safe, filled the recent public forum on Health and GE (genetically engineered) Foods Nov 14 at the Filberg Centre. An estimated 200 people turned out to hear three speakers with different experiences with GE products. 

Dr. Thierry Vrain is a scientist previously working on GE products for Agriculture Canada. He explained why he has changed his mind on the usefulness and safety of GE foods. Jan Slomp, a conventional dairy farmer in the Netherlands, and more recently Alberta, told how he is saving money by not using chemicals or GE seeds for his dairy herd.  And Colin Palmer, Chair of the Powell River Regional District reviewed how and why his Board declared Powell River a GE-Free Crop Zone, to encourage local economic development. 

Susan Holvenstot, one of the organizers from GE Watch Comox Valley said, “This was a very successful event, and we hope to continue sharing information about the risks associated with genetically engineered products in the supermarkets, and in our Comox Valley farmlands.”

There were quite a few dairy farmers, and other farmers, in the standing room only hall. 

Holvenstot explained “Some hard questions were asked, and some passion was expressed, but overall it was a respectful discussion of this important local concern. “

This was the start to a cross-Canada GE Free tour with Dr Vrain, and another scientist Dr. Shiv Chopra, planning to visit over 100 towns and cities.  Over $400 was raised to support the tour. 

TONIGHT- November 14, YOUR Health & Genetically Engineered Foods Forum in Comox Valley

YOUR Health and Genetically Engineered Foods

Thursday, Nov 14th 2013, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Filberg Centre, Conference Hall, 411 Anderton Road, Courtenay

 Do you want to live a healthy life? Are you concerned about your food ?

Come learn how current farming practices, genetically engineered foods and the use of herbicides may be affecting your health and our planet.


Thierry Vrain

Dr. Thierry Vrain was a soil biologist and a genetic engineer with Agriculture Canada for 30 years.  He was the Head of the Biotechnology Department at the Summerland Research Centre, managing the research programs of 40 professional and technical employees and providing leadership for scientific committees and organizations to evaluate research proposals, educate and advise on scientific issues. He provided scientific journals with reviews and editorial evaluations of scientific manuscripts, and technical expertise to governments to evaluate diagnostics and exclusion policies, and to Universities in Canada and abroad to educate students and staff, and supervise research projects. Thierry retired in 2002 and created a little herbal farm on Vancouver Island where he teaches soil health. He has slipped into the persona of “a scientist turned activist” and he lectures about GMOs.

Jan SlompJan Slomp and partner Marian own and operate a dairy farm since 1979, the first ten years in the Netherlands and since 1989 in central Alberta. Jan milked his first cow in 1962 and has seen dairy farming change, from before 1960 without any fossil fuel, through the green revolution, into a highly intensive and productive sector. He altered his objectives in the nineties, from ever increasing productivity into a more holistic and sustainable farming approach. The number one guide in pursuing his goals is soil and animal health. Jan is board member of the National Farmers Union and in that capacity was active in order to get a ban on the use of Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada. He is compelled to warn fellow farmers for the lack of a precautionary approach in the regulatory regime for agriculture in North America. Jan is delegate for Alberta Milk. Jan and Marian’s farm, was one of the three contestants for the 2013 Dairy Farmers of Canada Sustainability Award.

colin-palmerColin Palmer is the Chair of Powell River Regional District and was instrumental in establishing the First GE Free Crop Zone in Canada in 2004.  Colin has resided in Powell River for 46 years.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (English, history and geography) from the University of British Columbia in 1960.  Colin has served as a Councillor and Mayor of the City of Powell River.  He is at present the Director for Area C and Chair of the Regional Board. Among other community positions he has held, he has been President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Community Futures Development Corporation and a member of the Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee and the Provincial Environmental Appeal Board.  After a 12-year teaching career, Colin has operated a printing business in Powell River since 1976.

Everyone is welcome.  Suggested donation is $8

Co-sponsored by GE Watch Comox Valley and Council of Canadians Comox Valley

MacDonald & Gerber said No to GE apple

News release, Friends of the Earth US

McDonald’s, Gerber say no to GMO apple

Posted Nov. 7, 2013,

Market rejection of GMOs grows in wake of labeling fights

WASHINGTON, DC – In letters to Friends of the Earth, the world’s largest restaurant chain McDonald’s, and leading baby food manufacturer Gerber have confirmed they do not plan to sell or use the Arctic® apple, the first genetically engineered apple that has an application pending before the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“McDonald’s and Gerber are wise to distance themselves from the Arctic® apple. They understand their customers, particularly parents, are leery of unlabeled, poorly studied genetically engineered foods,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Food & Technology Program at Friends of the Earth. “This is further proof that the market is rejecting GMOs.”

Commenting on the possible loss of Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative, Archer said: “Companies invested in profits from GMOs might have bought Washington’s election, but they can’t stop the market from rejecting their products.”

In a letter dated Oct. 31, 2013, Gerber confirmed its policy to avoid genetically modified organisms in fruit and vegetable purees for babies, and said it has no plans to use the Arctic® apple. Gerber is owned by Nestle, which sells many processed foods containing GMOs, and has spent over $2 million fighting GMO labeling voter initiatives in Washington and California.

McDonald’s, which sells apple slices and is expanding its fruit and vegetable menu offerings, confirmed in a letter dated Nov. 1, 2013, that it also has no plans to use Arctic® apples. The apples are genetically engineered using a controversial new method that turns off the apple’s natural browning mechanism.

These food companies join major apple growing associations, including USApple and the Northwest Horticultural Council (representing Washington apple growers who grow more than 60 percent of U.S. apples), that have stated opposition to this GMO apple.

The statements provide further evidence of growing market rejection of new genetically engineered foods that are in the pipeline for approval.

Nearly 5,000 supermarkets – including Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Aldi – have said they won’t sell genetically engineered salmon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering approval of the AquAdvantage® salmon that is engineered with the DNA of an Ocean Pout to grow twice as fast.

Three quarters of people recently surveyed by the New York Times said they would not eat genetically engineered fish.

The Arctic® apple and AquAdvantage® salmon are among many new genetically engineered foods in the pipeline for approval, including a potato and commodity crops (corn and soy) engineered to withstand more powerful pesticides. Dozens of genetically engineered fish and other animals including pigs, cows and chickens are also in development stages.

“New unlabeled, risky GMOs could enter the produce aisles and meat counters at our grocery stores in the near future. That’s why it’s so important to win labeling now, and put in place rigorous health and safety standards for genetically engineered foods,” Archer said. “Until then, we’ll keep ramping up the pressure for the market to listen to the growing public rejection of GMOs.”


Letters to McDonald’s and Gerber signed by of environmental, consumer, parent’s and food safety groups and letters from McDonald’s and Gerber here:

– See more at:

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Petition to get GE Sweet corn Out !

Canadian Grocery Chains: Get GM Sweet Corn Out! Sign the petition today.

You, and your friends and family could unknowingly be buying genetically modified sweet corn! Please sign CBAN’s petition to the major grocery chains in Canada, to get genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) sweet corn (corn on the cob) out of the food supply.

In October 2013, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) tested conventional sweet corn samples from across Canada and found unlabelled genetically modified fresh sweet corn in grocery stores, roadside stands and farmers markets.

There has been a small, undetermined, amount of GM sweet corn, from the company Syngenta, on the market for over 10 years. However, in late 2011 Monsanto launched a line of GM sweet corn varieties as well.

GM sweet corn is the only whole GM food grown in Canada – as opposed to GM field corn, which is processed into food ingredients, animal feed and biofuels.

GM sweet corn is the third possible GM fruit or vegetable in the produce section of Canadian grocery stores. There could be some GM papaya (from the U.S. and China only) and some varieties of GM squash (from the U.S. only) that end up on our grocery shelves in Canada. (You can check for more info.)

GM sweet corn is genetically modified to be toxic to particular insects. The GM technology transforms the corn plant into a pesticide. In fact, the toxin, from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). is usually expressed in every cell of the plant including the corn kernels. If certain insects try to eat the corn, they will die. The Bt toxin attaches to receptors in the gut of some insects, rupturing the gut and killing the insect. Health Canada approved GM corn without conducting any of its own safety tests.

GM foods are not labelled in Canada and our government does not track GM foods and crops.

Certified organic sweet corn is definitely not GM because organic farming prohibits the use of GM seeds, however certified organic sweet corn is not always available.

Thank you for taking action to get GM sweet corn out of Canada!

You can take more action! Please also write a personal letter to the head office of the grocery store where you shop! This action is very important. For more information and action please visit

Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Get GM Sweet Corn Out! Write to your grocery store today.

Is GE food the solution to world hunger?

Great article with quotes from Genetics Professor Emeritus, Herman Brockman from Illinois State University:

Brockman lists the real reasons for global hunger, namely WASTE, access, economic disparity among others.
On every one of Brockman’s 15 criteria, GE seed fails to measure up.
Linda Cheu