Frankenfoods Debate Intensifies in Canada

March 31, 2000
from a press release
OTTAWA -- As activists across the country prepare for a day of protest
against genetically engineered (GE) foods, a national poll released today
reveals that a consumer revolt on GE foods may be brewing, says The Council
of Canadians.
According to the poll conducted for The Council of Canadians by
Environics Research Group, three-quarters (75%) of Canadians familiar with
GE foods are worried about their safety and almost all (95%) want GE foods
labeled as such. A similarly high number (95%) want consumers to be able to
buy non-GE foods, and over two-thirds (71%) would even be willing to pay
more to get them. Moreover, most respondents (56%) are not confident in the
federal government's ability to protect their health and safety when it
comes to GE foods - although grocery retailers say they depend on consumer
confidence in government testing.
``The results of this poll demonstrate that a genuine consumer revolt is
brewing against GE foods,'' said Jennifer Story, Health Protection
with The Council of Canadians. ``As the country's biggest grocery chain,
Loblaws/Superstores has an obligation to protect consumers by removing foods
that have not been proven safe or, at least, to only carry foods that are
clearly labeled as containing genetically engineered ingredients.''
The poll results are being released one day before members of the
Council, Greenpeace, Sierra Club of Canada and other organizations stage a
massive April Fool's Day protest outside Loblaws/Superstores in over 30
Canadian cities. Activists are demanding that the food retail giant stop
fooling with Canadians' health and remove GE foods from its shelves.
Loblaws has continued to insist that it has faith in the government's
testing and approval of GE foods, but the results of the Environics poll
released today suggest that a majority of informed customers do not share
that faith and clearly want grocery stores to offer GE-free foods. The
telephone poll, which surveyed 902 Canadians earlier this year, is accurate
within 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The Council has been spearheading a national consumer campaign to have GE
foods removed from store shelves until they are proven safe to eat.
Increasing numbers of consumers, scientists and agricultural professionals
calling on the federal government to undertake long-term, independent
testing of GE foods to ensure their safety - a step both the government and
the GE food industry have resisted.

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