GE Free Comox Valley

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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Judging GMOs: TVO interviews Steve Druker and Robert Wager

Jan 26, 2016, TOV program on GMOs. Is it safe?

Steve Druker, lawyer  who wrote Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, is  pitted against our local Monsanto spokesperson Robert Wager, Lab demonstrator in Biochemistry. in Vancouver Island University. No new info but how information is twisted is interesting here.

Council could take organic policy approach

 January 20, 2016  CV Record

Dear editor,

On Oct. 19 Courtenay council passed a resolution to study the effect of a GMO Free preferential procurement policy. Perhaps the city should consider an organic preferential policy instead.

The Canadian Government defines organic as “Free of GMO, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones and antibiotics….” (CAN/CSGB 32.310-2006).

An organic preferential buying policy would capture all the products listed above and keep them out of our bodies, it would also be easy to implement as all organic products are clearly labelled in Canada and the U.S. and organic implies GMO free.

It is evident that consumers want organic products, you simply have to see the growing size of organic offerings in the supermarket to realize that this is a growing trend.

Many merchants selling at the Comox Valley Farmers Market produce organically and this trend is also growing.

This resolution only impacts the purchasing decisions of the city and regardless of how much organic products the city purchases, no large scale farms that produce non-GMO free products could possibly be financially impacted, as the mayor suggested.

It is a bit ironic that Courtenay which has a “no herbicide use inside city limit” bylaw to provide its citizens with a safer environment is not prepared to go the next step and make an effort to keep it citizens safer by keeping the same poisons out of the food supplied by the city.

Adopting an organic preferential buying policy is not a big deal; it means that you buy organic when you can and when it makes sense. The city would be aligned with its existing position on herbicide use in the city and would take another meaningful step toward positive change.

Sylvain Alie


GE Free procurement is easy to adopt:letter in Record Jan 14,2016

GE free procurement is easy to adopt

A GFree (genetically engineer free)  preferential procurement policy is being considered at Courtenay City Hall (Record Oct 23,2015) 

It  will apply to City Hallwhen it buys food for its own events or buys plants  for city beautification. It will not affect  anyone else’s purchasing decisions (Just like  mother shopping for her own family).  

   Some say that a GE Free procurement policy is impossible to implement. I think that it is not only possible, but easy to do and it is the way of the future. The label GMO is often used interchangeably with GE. GE ( Genetic engineering) is the technique whereas the product is often referred  to as GMO (genetically modified organism.)   

 The Market   obeys consumers demand for healthier choicesTen years ago  it was hard to find organic/GMO free products in major grocery chains but now there is  a Green aisle in Superstore, and organic chicken and fruits and veggies in Costco.It is becoming  easier and easier to find GMO Free products. 

 TheNON-GMO label, a small colorful stamp of an orange butterfly against a blue sky, is found on  many packaged goods. It is a third party certification that no genetically engineered ingredients were used to produce this product. The price of these products are similar to conventional brands.Since the Federal governments of US and Canada do not have a strong GMO labelling policy, this Non-GMO Project, started in 2007, fills the gap to provide consumers with non gmo choices. 

 As local caterers and restaurants vie to fulfil the demand of customers and increasingly promote organic content to attract clientele, it is obvious that a GE Free procurement  is not only doable but desirable.  Let Courtenay City Hall be among the leaders in this forward looking policy.   

 Linda Cheu, 



Farming for Biodiversity:Speaker at Comox Valley Nature Jan 17th Sun 7pm FIlberg Centre

​ Comox Valley Nature is hosting a Guest Speaker at its monthly meeting on  Sun,Jan 17th,2016, 7pm at Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave, Courtenay.

Jan Slomp,President of National Farmers’ Union will speak on Farming for Biodiversity.

Jan already knew the importance of grassland before his formal education started. He knew about production potential of well established pastures in the 1980s, but in Canada he discovered how much of a modern dairy cow’s nutritional needs could be balanced by the miracle of wealth in managed sun drenched prairie pastures. Approaching that balance allowed the Slomps quality of life and prosperity on a modest size farm.

Given the importance of farmland around the valley, this has got to be an extremely relevant topic.


Campbell Soup announced labelling

Source:GLobe and Mail Jan 8th 2016
Campbell Soup Co said it will label all its U.S. products for the presence of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, becoming the first major food company to respond to growing calls for more transparency about contents in food.

The world’s largest soup maker broke ranks with peers and said it supported the enactment of federal legislation for a single mandatory labeling standard for GMO-derived foods and a national standard for non-GMO claims made on food packaging.

The company, which also makes Pepperidge Farm cookies and Prego pasta sauces, said it would withdraw from all efforts by groups opposing such measures.

Several activist groups have been pressuring food companies to be more transparent about the use of ingredients, especially GMO-derived ones, amid rising concerns about their effects on health and the environment.

Several big companies such as PepsiCo Inc, Kellogg Co and Monsanto Co have resisted such calls and have spent millions of dollars to defeat GMO-labeling ballot measures in states such as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California, saying it would add unnecessary costs.

Monsanto Co said in a statement Friday that it sells seeds to farmers, and does not manufacture or sell food products from crops grown from those seeds.

The six biggest agrochemical and biotech seed companies – Monsanto, Dupont, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science and Syngenta AG – spent more than $21.5-million to help defeat a 2012 California proposition labeling proposition, according to state election data.

However, in 2014, Vermont became the first U.S. state to pass a law requiring food companies to label GMOs on their products, which will come into effect in July.

Pro-labeling groups such as Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Just Label It cheered Campbell’s move.

“We applaud Campbell’s for supporting national, mandatory GMO labeling,” Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at EWG said.

Advocacy group Just Label It said Campbell’s move was a step closer to reaching the goal of a federally crafted national GMO labeling solution.

Campbell said late on Thursday that if a federal solution is not achieved in some time, it was prepared to label all its U.S. products for the presence of ingredients that were derived from GMOs and would seek guidance from the FDA and approval by the USDA.
March Against Monsanto | March Against Monsanto 2015 Official Press Release
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents more than 300 food companies opposed to mandatory GMO labeling, said it respected the rights of individual members to communicate with their customers in whatever manner they deem appropriate.

However, the GMA said it was “imperative” that Congress acted immediately to prevent the expansion of a costly patchwork of state labeling laws that would ultimately hurt consumers who can least afford higher food prices.

Kellogg and Pepsi were not immediately available to comment on Campbell’s move.

Campbell said in July that it would stop adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) to its condensed soups for children and use non-genetically modified ingredients sourced from American organic farms in its Campbell’s organic soup line for kids.

The company also said it would remove artificial colors and flavors from nearly all of its North American products by July 2018.

2016 wish list

Every day I give thanks for this beautiful Valley I call home and my deepest wish is that it will stay that way.

I wish for a pristine estuary, home to thousands of local and migrating shorebirds feeding on a shoreline unpolluted by Roundup and other noxious pesticides

I wish for another year of CSA boxes brimming with an amazing selection of locally grown organic veggies and fruit

I wish for hardware stores stocked with fertilizers and pesticides free of harmful chemicals.

I wish dairy farmers success with using natural practices, making their farms more sustainable and milk products healthier.

I wish for increased public awareness of the importance of preserving our wetlands and forests.

I wish wisdom and courage to our politicians to plan and act for the health of all their constituents showing foresight and leadership without bias to economic pressures.

I wish all Comox Valley residents to have a successful and joyful 2016 with clean drinking water and abundant local healthy food.

Jenny Gohl   Record published on Dec 31,2015  cropped-09-22.jpg