Monday, February 7, 2011

15 years of GMO contamination in Canada

15 years of GMO contamination in Canada: "Over the past 15 years, Canadian farmers' experience with contamination from genetically engineered (GE) crops has exposed the seriousness of the problem. One of the earliest arguments advocating caution in the release of GE plants into the environment was based on the fact we cannot control or recall these living, self-replicating organisms. Our inability to fully predict the path of contamination and its consequences is one reason why genetic engineering is still referred to as one large, living experiment.

Contamination from GE crop plants or other GE organisms can occur through a number of different means, including insect or wind pollination, seed mixing and human error. Commonly, the contamination is not examined before GE crops are approved, partly because the social and economic impacts of contamination are not taken into consideration when government creates regulations. Bill C-474, which will be voted on early this month, would recognize the possible economic cost of contamination by requiring that the government assess export market harm before a new GE seed is permitted.

Contamination from GE crop plants is a reoccurring, predictable problem that can have serious impacts on the livelihood of farmers and the future of organic crops. For example, because of GE contamination organic grain farmers on the Prairies lost organic canola as a market and rotation crop; GE canola contaminated non-GE canola to such a degree that, most, if not all, pedigreed seed growers in Saskatchewan could not warrant their canola seed as GE-free and most, if not all, grain farmers could not warrant their canola crop as free of GE contamination, even if it was planted with GE-free seeds."

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