Sunday, September 15, 2013

Local News

How Safe is GM Food?

UBCM will be looking at genetically modified food crops this week

Staff/Voice photo


This photo of Genetically Modified cattle corn is growing in the Eastern Fraser Valley was taken three weeks ago.


hilliwack is home to some of the world's best corn. But can it get better? Ask some of the farmers in the Fraser Valley who are growing genetically modified/genetically engineered  (GM/GE) crops.


GM corn is tougher than Mother Nature’s variation. It’s more resistant to frost and insects which makes it more attractive to farmers.


On Monday, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) meet in Vancouver and will at some point have a resolution debate on Genetically Engineered/Genetically Modified (GE/GM) Crops and Food (B72).


Two weeks ago, the Voice made some inquiries with the Ministry of Agriculture about how much GM corn is being grown in the Chilliwack area, and we’re still awaiting a response.


Last month, we photographed GM cattle corn growing in Chilliwack. So it’s only cattle corn, and people aren’t eating it, but the concern here is that its getting into the food chain by way of milk and meat.


Japan, South Korea and Taiwan don’t want GM wheat and trade deals come under threat if its shipped there. So it’s safe to assume they don’t want any food products made with GM corn.


 Is it safe for human consumption? For many, the jury is still out.


But for Vancouver Island University professor Robert Wager, the science backing GM food crops is there and it's safe, and he is urging UBCM Director at Large and Resolutions Chair Mayor Sharon Gaetz and other politicians to inform themselves with information backed by science.


Wager told Gaetz in an email which was forwarded to the Voice, that “This area of food production is complex and unfortunately subject to a great deal of mis-information.”


“The average person is not trained to recognize the difference between the real science of genetically modified food and the pseudo-science (designed to scare not educate),” said Wager who has been involved educating people on the subject of GM crops for over a decade adding “The global food safety and health authorities are unanimous in their support for the safe use of GE crops and food.”


Wager says the “real science” and health dialogue behind the GM food debate is most often overlooked.


Read Wager's report here.




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