Atamanenko to host food forum

Alex Atamanenko, MP for the B.C. Southern Interior, is co-sponsoring a series of MP forums to discuss the issues that surround genetic modification on a local and national level.

Alex Atamanenko, MP for the B.C. Southern Interior, is co-sponsoring a series of MP forums to discuss the issues that surround genetic modification on a local and national level.

The forum in Grand Forks will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Grand Forks Senior’s Centre and will be co-sponsored by the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS).

Lucy Sharratt is co-ordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), a collaborative campaign of 18 member groups working for food sovereignty and environmental justice. She has been active in the area of genetically modified (GM) foods for the past 15 years. Lucy will be joined on the forum tour by April Reeves from the Society for a GE (genetic engineering) Free BC, Atamanenko and panelists from local agriculture organizations and food groups. Through genetic modification, scientists are able to change plants or animals at the molecular level. Right now there are four GM crops grown in Canada, soy, canola, corn and white sugar beet, which are widely used as ingredients in processed foods. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about the risk that GM products might pose to people and the environment.

“I am extremely happy that Lucy Sharratt has found time to visit our area,” said Atamanenko.

“She is one of Canada’s foremost experts on genetically modified organisms, and worked very closely with us when I was drafting my Bill C-474 on the economic impact to farmers of GMOs.”

Because the science of GM foods is relatively new, government has been slow to react to the changes in the food industry that GM products have created. For example, the Canadian government has no mandatory labeling requirement for foods that contain GM products and no tracking or monitoring of possible health impacts.

Farmers and consumers continue to struggle with the implications of GM seeds and food being introduced into the market.

For example, Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser went to court over the Monsanto Corporation’s claim that he had illegally planted the company’s GM canola seed and consumer rejection has resulted in GM potatoes being withdrawn from the market.

You can find out more about what GM foods are on the market, what is coming and what actions you can take to stop GM apples, salmon and alfalfa by attending the Sept. 20 forum

The forums are free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information contact Alex Atamanenko’s Castlegar constituency office at 250-365-2792 or go to the CBAN website at www.cban.ca/events