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New Report Warns of Inevitable Contamination if GM Alfalfa is Released in Ontario

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page and our Canada News page.

Ottawa- Today, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network released a new report documenting the means by which genetically modified (GM) alfalfa will contaminate non-GM alfalfa and hay crops in Ontario, if GM alfalfa is released in Eastern Canada.

 "We can clearly see how farmers will pay the heavy costs of this inevitable contamination," said Ontario organic sheep and vegetable farmer Ann Slater, member of the National Farmers Union, "The only way to stop contamination from GM alfalfa is to keep it off the market."

Alfalfa is an important crop for dairy farming in Ontario as well as for livestock farmers and vegetable and field crop producers. Some Ontario farmers also save alfalfa seed.

The report details the role of seeds, pollen, and volunteer/feral plants in the predicted contamination of non-GM alfalfa from GM alfalfa. If released, GM alfalfa would be the first GM perennial crop introduced in Canada. "While the conditions for contamination in Eastern Canada differ from those in Western Canada where alfalfa seed is produced, contamination in Ontario is assured, as are the economic costs to farmers," said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

"Our report documents the many means by which farmers can expect to see contamination from GM alfalfa. Contamination is assured, the only question is how long it will take and which will be the first or primary means of gene escape," said Taarini Chopra, also with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

"This report puts an end to discussions about coexistence with GM alfalfa, its just not possible." said Phillip Woodhouse, President of the Ontario Grey County NFU local 344 who also attended an October 2012 meeting of the Canadian Seed Trade Association where the industry attempted to construct a coexistence plan to pave the way for GM alfalfa. "Forage Genetics International appears willing to sacrifice the livelihoods of Ontario farmers to get their product on the market somewhere in Canada." 


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