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May 3, 2000


Don't Be Fooled by Costumed Protestors: Genetically Modified Foods



Don't Be Fooled by Costumed Protestors: Genetically Modified Foods
Backed by Scientists, Regulators and Farmers
Guelph, Ontario -- As anti-biotechnology activist groups prepare a
renewed attack on the Canadian food industry, AGCare, an Ontario-based
coalition of farm groups, has expressed its appreciation to Canada's
grocery retailers and food manufacturers, who continue to support the
integrity of our food regulatory system, our scientists, and the
farmers who choose crops enhanced through biotechnology for the food
quality, production and environmental benefits they confer.

"New technologies have helped us to provide Canadian families with a
great abundance of nutritious, high quality, affordable food," said
Jim Fischer, chairman of AGCare. "Canadian food manufacturers and
retailers should be commended for their solid support for Canada's
food regulatory system, which ensures safety of all new biotech foods
before they can be used or sold in Canada. Thanks are also in order
their refusal to market products that make unsubstantiated claims
about genetic modification in an effort to enhance market shares."

Scientists worldwide have expressed their support for the technology
which allows beneficial traits to be incorporated into the genetic
structure of food crops. Almost 2000 scientists from more than 40
countries, including Nobel Prize winners James Watson and Norman
Borlaug, have signed a "Declaration in Support of Agricultural
Biotechnology," stating that the technology "can contribute
substantially in
enhancing quality of life by improving agriculture, health care and
the environment." Full text of the Declaration in Support of
Biotechnology is available at: http://www.agbioworld.org

Groups such as Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians, which have
used the Campaign Against Genetically Engineered Foods as the
basis for major fundraising efforts over the last year, have
announced their intention to launch protest actions at grocery stores
Canada in celebration of April Fool's Day. In a related effort, a new
campaign - "Parents for a Safe Food Supply" - was launched by the
Canadian Health Food Association on Thursday, March 30.

"Like the scheduled grocery store protests, this new campaign has
everything to do with political opportunism and nothing to do with
safety," said Dr. Douglas Powell, food safety researcher and
assistant professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture,
University of Guelph.
"Over 1 million Canadians get sick and dozens die every year from the
food and water they consume -- including products from so-called
health food stores -- yet not one has anything to do with genetic
engineering. Publicity stunts and sound bite science trivialize the
efforts of
farmers, regulators and the food industry to improve the safety of
the food supply."