LETTER: MP Atamanenko calls out CropLife president

I read with interest the Nov. 23 letter in which the president of CropLife Canada discusses genetically modified food.

Editor:

Re: The other side of the GM food coin (Nov. 23 issue of the Grand Forks Gazette)

I read with interest the Nov. 23 letter to the editor in which the president of CropLife Canada trots out the tired propaganda and promises about genetically modified (GM) food that continue to be rejected by those who have done their homework.

The fact that health and environment agencies rely on corporate data in their approval processes, while repeatedly ignoring the results of independent science, calls into question the reliability of the “strict regulatory standards” and safety testing CropLife’s president refers to in his letter.

At least seven European countries have banned Monsanto’s MON810 corn over safety concerns revealed by an independent study, yet still it is allowed to be grown in Canada.

Since there has yet to be a single study conducted on human health from consuming genetically engineered (GE) foods no one can speak to their safety with authority.

CropLife’s claims that GE crops improve yields, enhance nutrition and improve the environment are also erroneous.  GE crops can lay claim to two traits – the herbicide tolerant gene, as in RoundupReady, and the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) pesticide gene, which makes the entire plant a pesticide factory.

All the inherent qualities of the seed that contribute to yield and nutritional enhancements are achieved by conventional breeding methods and cannot be credited to genetic engineering.

According to the scientific report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) genetically modified crops will not address the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, hunger or poverty.

Instead, it called on the world’s governments to redirect funding and efforts away from the destructive chemical dependent one-size-fits-all model of agriculture and towards a system which embraces small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods.

After playing a key role in the selection of 400 leading agriculture scientists from 60 countries to conduct this four-year peer-reviewed analysis of evidence provided by both sides, Canada was one of only three countries to refuse to sign off on the report.

Alex Atamanenko, MP B.C. Southern Interior