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Quebec Brewery Wins Right to Label Its Beer GE-Free

Quebec Brewery Wins Right to Label Its Beer GE-Free

Last updated: Friday 15 June 2001 WORLD BUSINESS
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Quebec microbrewery can say its beer has no genetically modified organisms

MONTREAL (CP) - A small Quebec brewery has won a court battle with a
federal government agency over its right to say its beer contains no genetically
modified organisms.

Unibroue, based in Chambly, Que., obtained a certificate a year ago from the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency, classifying its beers as GMO-free. The
classification was intended to help the firm's European exports.

When Unibroue decided to use the certificate to boost its beers in Quebec,
the food inspection agency contended the claim broke food and drug laws. It
withdrew its approval and sought a court injunction against further use of
the certificate.

The injunction request was denied by Justice Pierre Viau of Quebec Superior
Court.

Paul Arnott, Unibroue's master brewer, said Wednesday the firm is happy that
Viau quickly turned down the agency's demand.

He noted Viau didn't even require Unibroue's lawyers to present any
arguments at the court hearing Tuesday. The judge listened to the federal
government side, then gave his ruling.

"Obviously for us it's important because it means we're going to save money.
If we had to remove all the posters, we were looking at $100,000 to
$120,000," Arnott said.

Arnott said future promotional campaigns relating to the beers' GMO-free
nature won't make any mention of the agency.

But he said the claim is true and Unibroue "may have to pay privately to
have that certified through an official organization."

The firm will let its current promotion continue for a normal life-span and
when it's over, "the posters will be removed."

Arnott said he hopes the agency will be content with this approach.

Ottawa has yet to establish a labelling standard for genetically modified
foods.

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