Open Letter to the Government of Canada

Before he became Prime Minister, I attended a public campaign meeting held by Justin Trudeau. At that meeting, I asked Mr. Trudeau if elected, whether he would he support mandatory labeling of GMOs in this country. I have it on record he replied very positively, “Yes, yes and yes!” I commented in turn from my seat in the audience, “Great, then you have my vote!”

That is why, I am disheartened, disappointed, and frankly disgusted by the news this week that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are planning to surrender their regulatory authority over new genetically engineered (genetically modified) foods and plants. Going forward this excludes genetically modified organisms from any government safety assessments or oversight. Instead, product developers would determine the food safety and environmental risk of their own GMOs.

This appalling move by the Canadian government means it has effectively washed its hands regarding the regulation of the genetic engineering of food. Health Canada and the CFIA would have no ability to require information from product developers about these unregulated GMOs and they could be released without any subsequent reporting to the government.

Instead, the developers of these genetically altered products themselves would determine if any regulations apply to their own products, and also to determine their safety.

This decision flagrantly ignores the scientific findings which indicate gene editing can result in a range of possible unintended effects that could impact both food and environmental safety. We as Canadians rely on Health Canada and the CFIA to be independent regulators of genetically engineered products, to ensure they meet all food and environmental safety requirements.

As a proud Canadian organic food manufacturer, I vehemently protest this undemocratic action, which clearly threatens the health and safety of Canadian citizens, and the beautiful land in which we live.

If you feel it is important for genetically engineered foods to go through an evaluation and approval process before being released to the Canadian public and sold, please consider adding your name to a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos. You can send your message to the Minister here: https://cban.ca/take-action/no-exemptions/

Sincerely,

Arran Stephens

Chair & Co-Founder, Nature’s Path Foods