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Expert Panel confirm need for immediate moratorium

Expert Panel on GMOs confirms need for immediate moratorium, say GMO critics

Media Release

February 5, 2001

Ottawa - The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Health Coalition and Greenpeace are calling on the federal government to heed the findings of a new report by the Royal Society of Canada on genetically modified organisms
(GMOs). The message from the report, say the groups, is simple: Current governmental approval procedures for GMOs are totally inadequate to guarantee health and environmental safety and the agency responsible for the
regulation of GMOs - the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) - is in a conflict of interest as both a regulator and promoter for the industry.

The report from the Expert Panel on the Future of Food Biotechnology was prepared by the Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada, the CFIA, and Environment Canada.

Some of the recommendations of the report to
the federal government are:

* adoption of rigorous scientific methods to evaluate GMOs as opposed to concepts like "substantial equivalence" (recommendation 7.1, page x). use of independent regulators for scientific assessment of GMOs (7.3 & 9.3 pages x-xi) and clear separation between the mandates of scientific assessment and economic promotion of GMOs in order to "maintain an objective
and neutral stance" (9.1 page xi). This is a severe critique of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

* total "public transparency of the scientific data and rationales" (9.2 page xi & 6.8 page xiv)
* moratorium on the "rearing of GM fish in aquatic netpens" (6.13 page xii).
* labeling of GMOs (4.11 page xiii).
* traceability of GMOs (5.3 & 5.9 page xiii).

* undertaking of "exhaustive, long-term testing for ecological effects of biotechnology products" (6.2 page xiv & 5.7 page xv).

In light of these findings, say the groups, the logical conclusion to be drawn is that the federal government should immediately impose a moratorium on further releases of GMOs, at least until proper scientific and adequate
regulatory measures are in place.

The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Health Coalition, and Greenpeace are calling on the federal government to:

* recognize the structural failures in the existing regulatory system;
* announce an immediate moratorium on all GMOs; and

* introduce immediate mandatory labeling.

For the complete report:

For more information:
Nadège Adam, Council of Canadians, ph: (613) 233-4487, ext. 245, cell: (613) 295-0432
Eric Darier, Greenpeace, ph: (514) 933-0021, cell: (514) 240-6497
Bradford Duplisea, ph: (613) 521-3400 ext. 219

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