GE Free Comox Valley

Say No to GMO

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Petition: Kellogg’s: Remove GMOs from your products!

Please sign petition

We sent a box of Froot Loops to a lab for genetic testing and found 100% of the corn was GMO, containing both Roundup Ready and Bt corn as well as some Roundup Ready soy. Sugar is also a Roundup Ready GMO. Roundup Ready means the GMOs are sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate), a toxic weed killer, which is absorbed by the plant. Glyphosate was also patented by Monsanto as an antibiotic in 2011. Not only is the corn in Froot Loops sprayed with Roundup, but with the Bt trait, it is a pesticide in its own right, registered with and regulated by the EPA. Every cell of the Bt corn plant produces pesticides called Bt toxins. When rootworms bite into it, their stomachs rupture and they die. How disturbing is it that Kellogg’s is feeding children pesticides & antibiotics, without their parents’ knowledge or consent?

via Petition: Kellogg’s: Remove GMOs from your products!.

Arctic apple developed in B.C. approved for sale in Canada – British Columbia – CBC News

When news of the B.C. cultivation first emerged in 2012, a poll commissioned by the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association and a group of Quebec growers showed significant concern among the public, with 69 per cent of respondents opposing approval of the Arctic apple. via Arctic apple developed in B.C. approved for sale in Canada – British Columbia – CBC News. In another article entitled, “Genetically modified BC apples stir controversy for growers”, by Tom Walker, in the March 2015 “Country Life in BC”, the president and founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Neal Carter, confirms “…the apple will start to decompose if bruised or sliced.  It’s just that the natural browning signal we recognize will be missing.” So, an apple that is being touted as non-browning for up to 14 days, means consumers would not be “signaled” to cut out up to 14 days worth of decomposing material.

Is it fair to say that the public is duped again?  Don’t consumers deserve that natural signal to tell us how fresh our apple really is? A few other facts from the March “Country Life in BC” article:

  • The Ambrosia apple is a slow browning apple “that nature gave us”
  • American corporations, Gerber and McDonald’s, have said they won’t use the Arctic apple
  • The province of BC has invested $8.4 million in replanting higher value varieties
  • The BC Fruit Growers Association has been working successfully to develop worldwide markets and revive a declining industry.  (Note: In a world with dozens of GE Free nations, will the introduction of the GE apple upset the apple cart?)

Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End… — WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding today concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies.

Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the agency is probably carcinogenic to human based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic studies have found that exposure to glyphosate is significantly associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL).

“With the cancer classification on top of the documented weed resistance to glyphosate and water contamination resulting from its use, continued reliance on glyphosate is irresponsible from a public health and environmental perspective,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “We have effective sustainable organic management systems that do not utilize glyphosate and it’s time that EPA and USDA recognized its responsibility to move away from hazardous and unnecessary pesticides,” he continued.

Ironically, EPA in 1985 originally classified glyphosate as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ based on tumors in laboratory animals, but changed its classification to evidence of non-carcinogenicity in human years later, most likely due to industry influence, allowing the chemical to be the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. USDA has contributed to its growth by deregulating crops, including  the vast majority of corn and soybeans, that are genetically engineered to be tolerant to the chemical. In recent years, weeds have exhibited resistance to glyphosate and its efficacy has been called into question. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) routinely finds glyphosate in U.S. waterways especially in the Midwestern states and the Mississippi River valley. Ecological data also reports that glyphosate and glyphosate formulated products are toxic to aquatic organisms, and is extremely lethal to amphibians.

But the U.S. regulatory agencies have ignored questions about its hazards and its necessity in crop production. Last year, cotton growers applied for an emergency exemption for the use of propazine on three million acres of cotton because glyphosate was no longer effective.


Jay Feldman, 202-255-4296

Nichelle Harriott


SOURCE Beyond Pesticides

via Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End… — WASHINGTON, March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —.

Comox Valley Farmer’s Market

Comox Valley Farmer’s Market.

The Comox Valley Farmer’s Market Newsletter features vendor Sandra McClintock and her water buffalo dairy products, fed on non-GMO corn.

Garden centre moves to protect pollinators

Garden centre moves to protect pollinators

Art Knapp Plantland has told its suppliers they will no longer accept nursery plants treated with neonicotinoids, a controversial class of pesticides linked to honeybee mortality.

via Garden centre moves to protect pollinators.

GE Free Comox Valley Has Table at Seedy Saturday

GE Free Comox Valley hosted a table at Seedy Saturday to share information about their group and the dangers of Genetically Engineered food products.Seedy Saturday 2015 072

GE Free Comox Valley is a non-profit group committed to education concerning genetically engineered foods.  GE Free Comox Valley collaborates with local growers, farmers, chefs, food retailers, community groups and citizens who are passionate about food we grow and eat.  Our aim is to foster informed discussion about genetic engineering and provide an outlet where people’s voices can be heard in the decision making process.

They are working to support the creation of a food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, safe and fair.  We are inspired by the vision of a vibrant community food system that nourishes and sustains its growers, consumers, and the land.

Another project they are working on at the moment is a request to local governments to do all in their power to protect their citizens, land, and water from the serious, negative and unknown effects of genetic engineering.

GE Free Comox Valley is also sponsoring a March Against Monsanto in the Comox Valley on May 23, 2015.   The March is part of a global movement that will be taking place around the world on the same day.

Golden Rice lobby group from Canada cowed by intense resistance in Philippines

11 March 2015
Cowed by the intense resistance
Pro-Golden Rice lobbyists refused the farmers’ challenge to debate
Los Baños, Laguna – The rabid Golden Rice lobby group, Allow Golden Rice Now! has left the Philippines with their tails behind their legs, and cowed by the intense resistance showed by the farmers opposing the unsafe and unwanted Golden Rice.
Farmer-scientist group MASIPAG believes that by ignoring the farmers’ challenge to a public debate on Golden Rice as they arrived in the country last week, it appears that the lobby group was afraid to face the farmers who will be among the first to be exposed to the potential harms of Golden Rice.
The Allow Golden Rice Now!, a lobby group based in Canada toured the Philippines from March 3-10 to campaign for the adoption of the genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’. The said visit is part of their Asia campaign tour, in which they will also travel to Bangladesh and India to promote Golden Rice. Headed by Patrick Moore, the group peddled the genetically modified rice while demonizing the farmers and other sectors who have expressed their opposition to the Golden Rice.
“It appears Patrick Moore and his cohorts chose not to face the farmers in a debate because they know that they will be exposed as frauds and agents of disinformation,” said Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator of MASIPAG. “Instead they sneak around the country spewing misleading claims on the technology, and even on organizations that are critical to Golden Rice.”
Golden Rice is genetically engineered that has been modified to express beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A. Golden Rice, which is being developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), will supposedly address Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) in developing countries such as the Philippines. The opposition against Golden Rice has intensified to the point that more than 400 local farmers and basic sectors uprooted the clandestine Golden Rice field trials in Pili, Camarines Sur in August 2013.
“Instead of heeding the farmers call to stop Golden Rice, and focus on other means to address VAD, Golden Rice proponents paint the political action as ‘vandalism’, and the rejection of the GM rice as a ‘crime against humanity’,” said Dr. Medina. “When in fact, the real crime being committed against humanity is subjecting rice, staple food of 60 percent of the world’s population, to an unsafe and potentially harmful technology such as genetic modification.”
Farmers’ resistance
More than 70 farmers from the provinces of Quezon, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan trooped to the Department of Agriculture last March 6 calling to stop the commercialization of  Golden Rice in the country. Farmers insisted that there are enough Vitamin A-rich foods in nature and in cultivated farms making Golden Rice unnecessary and unwanted.
“We cultivate a number of vegetables and fruits that are safe sources not only of Vitamin A, but also other nutrients that our body needs to be healthy,” said Lolit Saberola, a farmer from Tayabas, Quezon. “As a mother, I would not want to expose my children and grandchildren to Golden Rice.”
“Golden Rice is a simplistic solution to a complex problem,” said Cris Panerio, Regional Coordinator for MASIPAG in Luzon. “Vitamin A Deficiency and malnutrition is caused by the lack of access to safe and sufficient food, which obviously cannot be solved by Golden Rice.”
MASIPAG farmers, along with the Resist Agrochemical TNCs alliance displayed vegetables such as malunggay (moringga), sweet potato, water cabbage, lettuce, yellow potatoes as examples of local and natural foods that are rich in important nutrients. The group likewise called for a genuine agrarian reform, as most Filipino farmers do not even have their own land to till, as well as access to other basic agricultural services.
Patrick Moore declared persona non grata
Disgust and dismissal of the pro-Golden Rice group also ran high in the organic province of Negros Occidental, whose Governor, Alfredo Marañon Jr. stated that “they cannot come in. In Negros Occidental, we are GMO-free.” Anakpawis partylist representative Fernando ‘Ka Pando’ Hicap also delivered a privilege speech in the House of Representatives last March 9, stating that GMOs does not have a place in the country. He will also refile the GM Free Agriculture bill in response to the impending commercialization of Golden Rice and other GMOs in food and agriculture.
An opinion piece in one of the local dailies in Negros has declared Patrick Moore as persona non grata after exposing the lobbyist as a “paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, the logging industry, and genetic engineering industry.”
“The sneaky ways of Allow Golden Rice Now shows that their lobbying is not based on principles nor science, but are underhanded and deceiving,” emphasized Dr. Medina. “They would be better off to go back home and understand first the core issue of hunger and poverty in the developing countries, rather than pontificate on technologies that are not appropriate, unnecessary and unwanted.” ###
Masipag is a nework of farmers’ groups, scientist and non-government organizations in the Philippines seeking to improve the farmers’ quality of life through their control over genetic resources, agricultural technology and associated knowledge.
For inquiries please contact:
Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator
Mobile no.: 09175442196
The Permanent People’s Tribunal Session on Agrochemical TNCs is organised by Pesticide Action Network International, a global network of more than 600 organisations in over 90 countries which has been working to eliminate the use of pesticides and other hazardous technologies.

March Against Monsanto Planning Meeting

The first planning meeting for the May 23, 2015 Comox Valley March Against Monsanto will held on Friday, March 13th at 10:30 am in the Community Board Room at Quality Foods in Courtenay.

We have a strong planning committee, but we can use help with publicity, music, posters, entertainment, letter writing, and organization. If you are able to help in any of these areas or just want to know more about what is going on, please come to the planning meeting and show your support.

Everyone is welcome to come help us plan this family friendly event. We would like to get input from as many people as possible.

Thank you so much.

Hersey, the Candy Giant, going GMO free : Consumer power has reached a tipping point this year !!

Hershey’s Most Popular Chocolates Will Go GMO-Free by End of the Year


Hershey’s announced it is ending its love affair with GMOs. The candy giant also confirmed it will no longer source milk from cows that are treated with the artificial growth hormone rBST. Did consumers help spearhead the pressure on Hershey to go without GMOs?

Now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the Hershey Company’s love affair with Genetically Modified Organisms is (mostly) over.

After years of mounting pressure and thousands of Facebook posts, e-mails and telephone calls from consumers and advocacy organizations, the candy giantannounced it “will feature a lineup of simple ingredients, and transition some of its most popular chocolate brands, including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars to simpler ingredients.”

This means, as Confectionery News reported, Hershey will swap genetically modified sugar beet for cane sugar, as well as switch to non-genetically modified soy lecithin for these iconic products by the end of the year. Artificial vanillin and emulsified polyglycerol polyricinoleate (which reduces the viscosity of chocolate and is used as a replacement for expensive cocoa butter) will also be dropped.

Besides switching to ingredients people can actually recognize, the confectionery company said it’s aiming for more transparency in sourcing, manufacturing and labeling process. Hershey says it’s also working with suppliers to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa, as well as certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.

“We will strive for simplicity with all of our ingredients, but we may not achieve it with every product,” Hershey president and CEO John P. Bilbrey said. “This is a journey and it will take time. We are equally committed to sharing what we achieve and what we don’t. For ingredients that may not be as simple, we will explain what they are and why we need them to provide the great flavors, aromas, textures and appearances that our consumers know and love.”

Advocacy group GMO Inside spearheaded the pressure on Hershey (as well Mars) to make its products without GMOs over environmental and health concerns. The organization also noted that after their successful campaign, Hershey’s will no longer source milk from cows that are treated with the artificial growth hormone rBST.

John Roulac, co-chair of GMO Inside and CEO of Nutiva, called Hershey’s decision just the first step. “Hershey’s needs to take the next step and go non-GMO with all of its chocolates, and get third-party verification for non-GMO ingredients. This includes sourcing milk from cows not fed GMOs and agreeing to prohibit any synthetic biology ingredients, starting with vanilla,” said Roulac. “Consumers are increasingly looking for non-GMO products and verification, and Hershey’s and its competitors would be wise to offer third-party verified non-GMO products to consumers.”

comes just weeks after Nestlé pledged to remove artificial coloring and flavoring from all its candy products sold in the U.S. and one month after Breyers announced it will stop using milk from cows treated with the artificial hormone rBST.

“As one of the leading chocolate companies in the U.S., this commitment will help move the rest of the companies in this sector,” said Nicole McCann, Green America food campaigns director. “Hershey’s joins General Mills, Unilever, Post Foods and other leading companies in responding to consumer demand to make at least some of its products non-GMO.”


GE Trees / Topics / Resources / Take Action – Canadian Biotechnology Action Network – CBAN

The following is a re-post.
cban (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network)
Source: cban e_News, Thursday, 5 March, 2015
Protests halt approval of GE Trees in Brazil
GM Apple Update and Actions in Canada
Breaking News! Protests halt the approval of GE Trees in Brazil! 
On March 5, a meeting of a Brazilian government agency that was set to approve genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees was stopped by 300 peasant farmers from La Via Campesina. 1000 women of the MST Landless Workers Movement also occupied the Brazil Suzano company facilities in an action that included the destruction of GE eucalyptus seedlings. See here for photos and details: On March 3 CBAN organized a solidarity protest at the Brazilian Embassy in Ottawa as part the Emergency International Day of Action to Stop GE Trees, one of protests on 4 continents. You can see the photos from some of these actions here: For more information on GE trees see
GM Apple Update and Actions
US company Intrexon has just bought the Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits which developed the genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) “non-browning” apple. The acquisition was announced on February 27. Intrexon is a synthetic biology company which says it is “committed to building ‘A Better World Through Better DNA’”. Intrexon bought the company AquaBounty in 2012 such that it also owns the GM salmon developed by that company. Intrexon also owns two European patents (EP 1456346 and EP 1572862) on chimpanzees genetically engineered with DNA from insects, for pharmaceutical research purposes. On February 13, the US government approved plantings of the genetically modified “non-browning” apple. It is not yet approved in Canada. The genetically modified (GM) “non-browning” apple does not brown when you slice it, for 15 days or more. The company says the GM apples “have more eye appeal: no yucky browning”.
69% of Canadians don’t want the GM apple approved. Are you one of them? Here are some actions you can take:

Email your grocery chain today – ask them to keep the GM apple off the shelves in Canada:

GMO Inquiry 2015 You can still send in your questions to help shape the Inquiry. What do you want to know about GMOs? What information do you need that you cannot find? Send in your questions at Watch for CBAN’s first report in the GMO Inquiry, to answer “Where in the world are GM crops and foods?”

GE Trees / Topics / Resources / Take Action – Canadian Biotechnology Action Network – CBAN.