GE Free Comox Valley

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Monthly Archives: December 2015

IC: Yurok Tribe adopts ordinance banning Frankenfish and GMOs

The Yurok Tribe, the largest Indian Tribe in California with over 6,000 members, has banned genetically engineered salmon and all Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) on their reservation on the Klamath River in the state’s northwest region.

The Yurok ban comes in the wake of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision on November 19 to approve genetically engineered salmon, dubbed “Frankenfish,” as being fit for human consumption, in spite of massive public opposition to the decision by fishermen, Tribes, environmental organizations and public interest organizations.

On December 10, 2015, the Yurok Tribal Council unanimously voted to enact the Yurok Tribe Genetically Engineered Organism (“GEO”) Ordinance. The vote took place after several months of committee drafting and opportunity for public comment, according to a news release from the Tribe and Northern California Tribal Court Coalition (NCTCC).

Source: IC: Yurok Tribe adopts ordinance banning Frankenfish and GMOs

Preferential Purchase is easy to adopt.Letter in Record Dec 22,2015

Preferential purchasing is easy to adopt

Dear Editor,

My husband and I produce organically in our garden nearly all we need, and our excess helps feed the Valley fresh and local goods. We do have shortfalls like sugar, grains, molasses, mayonnaise, cheese, Greek yogurt, greens out of season, and avocados, to name just a few. Shopping for organic products (free of pesticides and not genetic modified) is rewarding but sometimes trying in the Comox Valley:

• It can be pricey. Buying organic is sometimes the least expensive option, but we are still occasionally shocked when seeing the price differences between organic and non-organic products. We still try to purchase organic despite the cost, and especially locally produced organic products to help our local small farmers make a living.

• In-store selection is limited and sometimes produce looks limp and discoloured like it has been on the shelf way too long. Fortunately, organic availability is increasing, and this would mean more selection and shorter shopping times. Local produce from the farmers’ market is always fresh.

Due to the above two reasons, my family has adopted a preferential purchasing policy that allows us whenever possible to choose organic products. We do so because we believe organic is healthier and therefore should be promoted more in our community. We do not use pesticides in our garden as they are too pricey, are dangerous to store and a health hazard to use, and most importantly kill beneficial species and help create super weeds. We save our own seed, an activity that would not be permissible if it was genetically modified.

Why can’t local politicians implement a preferential purchasing policy within their jurisdiction that addresses the health and economical concerns of all their constituents like ours does?

Royann Petrell


Letter of Support for GE Free Preferential Purchase Policy for Courtenay City Hall

Councilor David Frisch brought the motion forward to investigate a Genetically Engineered free preferential purchasing policy at the Oct 19 CourtenayCouncil meeting. Not a ban on GE for the City of Courtenay, just preferential purchasing for City Hall events.  The adopted motion is a reflection of a global awareness of the many unknowns about GE foods.

GE foods have only a 20 year commercial history. The reality is, we do not know enough about  the effects on humans to regard them as absolutely safe for humans. There are numerous published scientific papers revealing results that are cause for concern.

3 points to consider:

Unintended Allergies,

Decrease in Nutritional Value,

Unknown result in lateral transfer of genes.

Consider allergiesGenetic engineering can transfer allergens from foods to which people know they are allergic, to foods that they think are safe.  This is not in theory. A gene from the Brazil nut was injected into a soybean and the products made from the engineered soybeans created serious allergic reactions from people with nut allergies. Engineered foods could be creating thousands of different and new allergic responses.  We just don’t know.

The nutrition of GE foods may also be compromised. A study from George Mason University in Virginia in 2003, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, declares that GE soybeans produces less phytoestrogen compounds, believed to help fight heart disease and cancer, than non- GE soybeans. Their conclusion, “ it is possible that genetically modified food will lack important nutrients that are normally present in the corresponding natural, nongenetically engineered food”.

Clearly, we need to know more about the effects of GE foods before exposure to humans or animals. Geneticist David Suzuki exclaimed, “By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment. The FDA has said that genetically modified organisms are not much different from regular food, so they’ll be treated the same way. The problem is, geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move in horizontally into a totally unrelated species. switching genes from one to the other without regard for the biological constraints. It’s very very bad science, we assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically, applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion”

Now ask yourself, would I feed GE food to my children with all of these unknowns? I would like to thank Councilor Frisch for bringing this motion forward and to urge Council to pass it in 2016.

Lauren Sipone



Venezuela ban production & import of GM seeds Dec 2015

SOURCETrue Activist
To protect heirloom seeds and organic farmers, the country of Venezuela, through its National Assembly, recently approved a law that will ban the production, distribution, and importation of GM seeds.

According to the recently approved draft Seed Law, the state shall promote sustainable agriculture as the strategic basis for food security.

The victory is being celebrated across the world, with anti-GMO proponents viewing this as just one more sign activist efforts’ are working.

GM Watch reports that the law has taken years of collective grassroots effort to construct and has been through a public consultation.

The new law proposes the creation of a national seed institution, which will audit and control the seed supply in order to prevent, identify, and punish violators of the GMO ban. In addition, the institution will protect peasant seed, which has been part of the peoples’ culture for generations, and which is the product of natural cross-breeding.

Way to go, Venezuela! SOURCETrue Activist

What is Monsanto’s carcinogenic herbicide doing in tampons? | SumOfUs


Stop sourcing cotton sprayed with glyphosate for hygiene products.

Why is this important?

This is scary — Tampax, Always, and other hygiene products very likely contain the key ingredient in cancerous Monsanto Roundup.

A study done in Argentina earlier this year that found that 85% of tampons, cotton, and other hygiene products contain traces of a cancerous chemical linked to one of the world’s most controversial pesticides. The potential health implications from glyphosate are mounting, and it’s been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization. And this is what millions of women are exposing themselves unknowingly to every day.

Monsanto’s Roundup is the world’s most popular weed killer and most of the cotton in countries like the US and Argentina use Roundup-resistant GM cotton. This is also the case with much of the corn and soy we consume. And glyphosate is a key ingredient.

This means that traces of this toxic herbicide can be found in our food and, now we know, feminine hygiene products — even though the WHO found it to be a carcinogen.

In fact, many countries like France, Colombia, and Sri Lanka have placed restrictions on glyphosate to protect both human and wildlife health. Now it’s time for Procter & Gamble to commit to sourcing glyphosate-free cotton for hygiene products like Tampax and Always.

Source: What is Monsanto’s carcinogenic herbicide doing in tampons? | SumOfUs

Petition · Justin Trudeau: Label GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in food in Canada ·

Canadians deserve the right to know what is in the food we eat.  Right now, if food is genetically modified or engineered, there is no requirement for it to be labelled as such.  We the undersigned ask you, Mr. Trudeau, as our Prime Minister, to make this a priority of government to require labeling of all food which is genetically engineered or modified.  For the health of all Canadians.

Source: Petition · Justin Trudeau: Label GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in food in Canada ·

Label genetically modified foods, Yukon farmer urges Trudeau – North – CBC News

Q & A  Label genetically modified foods,

Yukon farmer urges Trudeau

We have a right to know what’s in our food even if there’s nothing wrong with it, argues Barbara Drury

By A New Day, CBC News Posted: Dec 13, 2015 11:08 AM CT  Last Updated: Dec 14, 2015 8:28 AM CT Canola in southern Manitoba.

According to the Canola Council of Canada, about 80 per cent of the canola grown in Canada has been modified using biotechnology “to make it tolerant to some herbicides.” (Radio-Canada)  (Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)​

A Yukon farmer has started a petition asking the federal government to require the labelling of all ingredients that are genetically modified. CBC’s A New Day caught up with Barbara Drury to find out more. Drury runs a ranch in the Ibex Valley near Whitehorse.Why are you doing this petition?

I really feel it’s so important to know what’s in our food. Everyday items like canola oil and sugar often contain genetically modified organisms [GMO] but since they don’t have to be labelled, people don’t necessarily know that. What do you want people to know about GMO foods?Genetic modification usually requires a tremendous amount of herbicide called Roundup. And the active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate and glyphosate is an extremely harmful chemical that is uptaken in our bodies, mimicking an amino acid.

If you think it’s bad, why not petition for a ban of GMO foods altogether? An all out ban at this point, is unrealistic. GMO is everywhere. We have to take this in incremental steps and the first step is to get labelling. What kind of uptake has your petition had and what will you do with it? It’s on the website I started the petition Nov. 28, and it already has more than  27,000 signatures. It’s gotten quite a lot of interest across Canada.

In late January, I’d like to take the petition to our prime minister.

What sort of pushback is there against labelling? Major corporations like Monsanto don’t want to have GMO labelling. Even though they claim there’s nothing wrong with GMOs, they realize that consumers, if they see the labelling, will probably have a pull back. But I think though we do deserve to have that on our label.If there’s nothing wrong with it, as the corporations claim, then fine. One of the reasons food companies say they don’t want to label products is because it’s going to cost so much more money, but it’s not. Labelling is required anyway.  All it would be is a “GM” in front in sugar, or “GM” in front of oil. That’s all it would require.

Source: Label genetically modified foods, Yukon farmer urges Trudeau – North – CBC News

Costco Refuses to Sell GMO Salmon

Costco has joined the ranks of over 60 supermarkets that refuse to sell GMO salmon.

After the FDA recently approved the sale of GMO salmon, many consumers were worried that the fish would soon grace the aisles of their grocery stores—a worry triggered by the fact that the FDA doesn’t require GMO producers to label their goods, and the company producing the GMO salmon has stated that they intend to label their product Atlantic salmon.Costco’s refusal to sell the salmon comes after over 18,000 people sent letters to Costco urging them to do so. Costco currently has 474 warehouse stores in the US and is the largest warehouse store in the world; it is the second-largest US retailer after Walmart.“We are asking Costco to stand behind the science, be a true leader in seafood sustainability and listen to the majority of consumers who do not want to eat genetically engineered fish,” said Dana Perls, food and technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth in a news release.

Costco’s statement, released last week, said that the retailer doesn’t intend to sell the newly approved salmon at this time. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Target, Safeway and Kroger are some of the other retailers that have promised not to sell the salmon. Restaurants such as Legal Sea Foods have also expressed an intent not to sell the GMO salmon when it becomes available.

The salmon, called AquAdvantage salmon, will be produced by AquaBounty Technologies. The company has been developing the product for nearly 20 years by genetically splicing Atlantic and Chinook salmon, as well as a few other fish types, in order to create a salmon that grows faster than wild salmon.Now that the salmon is approved, the company needs to raise enough to stock supermarkets and restaurants. The GMO salmon is slated to be available for sale in early 2016.

Source: Costco Refuses to Sell GMO Salmon

Setback For Dow’s Duo Herbicide | December 7, 2015 Issue – Vol. 93 Issue 48 | Chemical & Engineering News

Farmers are running out of options to combat fast-growing weeds. Many weeds are now resistant to glyphosate after extensive use of that herbicide. But many environmental groups worry that overuse of Enlist Duo will lead to “superweeds” that are resistant to both 2,4-D and glyphosate.

A coalition of such groups, which sued EPA last year because of the approval of Enlist Duo, called the agency’s move to withdraw the approval a huge victory for the environment and the future of food. The groups claim that the combination herbicide’s effects on human health and endangered species have been inadequately studied.“We will remain vigilant to ensure industry does not pressure the agency into making the same mistake in the future,” says George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Source: Setback For Dow’s Duo Herbicide | December 7, 2015 Issue – Vol. 93 Issue 48 | Chemical & Engineering News

Natural GMOs???

Natural GMOs???


The FDA is currently taking comments on rules related to use of the word “natural” on food labels. One issue they are considering is whether to label GMOs as natural. Huh?

Source: Natural GMOs???