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Greenpeace: Beware of ‘Frankenfood’

The Story

Don't mess with Mother Nature! That's the message behind Greenpeace's demonstration as it protests genetically modified foods outside a Toronto Loblaws supermarket. Greenpeace calls it 'Frankenfood' and says it's bad for the environment and bad for the consumer. Greenpeace want stores such as Loblaws to take those foods off the shelves or put a label on them so that shoppers know whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients. "I want to know before I give it to my kids what it is," says one concerned father in this clip. 

Medium: Television
Program: Saturday Report
Broadcast Date: April 1, 2000
Guest(s): Eduardo Bloombuld, Jeanne Cruickshank, Nona Robinson, Peter Tabuns
Host: Mark Kelley
Reporter: Ron Charles
Duration: 2:30

Did You know?

• The term genetically modified refers to a substance that has undergone alteration of its genetic material. In the case of genetically modified foods, one organism has been cut out and then pasted into another organism.
• Examples of genetically modified foods include wheat, tomatoes and corn oil. Some estimates suggest that up to 30,000 different modified foods are on store shelves. That number is so high because the majority of processed foods contain soy, and half of North America's soy crop is genetically engineered.

• Some farmers and organizations such as the United Nations are in favour of harvesting genetically modified plants. They argue that 'GM' plants are hardier and more disease resistant, don't need pesticides to grow, and allow farmers to grow a faster and higher yield of crops. Greenpeace argues that 'GM' foods are a health risk and have called for an independent testing agency to research the effects of modified foods.

• In Europe consumers were successful in forcing the food industry to label genetically modified foods. As a result, 35 countries have adopted mandatory labelling for foods that contain genetically modified organisms. In July 2003 the European Parliament passed laws that require grocers to clearly label products that contain at least 0.9 per cent biotech material.

• Food manufacturers in Canada and the U.S. follow voluntary labelling rules. On Oct. 17, 2001 Parliament defeated Bill C-287, introduced by Liberal MP Charles Caccia, which would have required the mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in Canada. The federal government instead formed a special committee to look further into the controversy and file a report on its findings.
• In 1999 an Environics Research Group poll discovered that 80 per cent of Canadians want genetically modified foods to be labelled.


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