For the past 20 years, Canadian polls have consistently shown that consumers want mandatory labels on genetically modified (GM) foods. On May 5, parliament will be debating on Private Member’s Bill C-291, which will establish these regulations if passed.
The bill, which will be voted on in the early weeks of May, is “An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (genetically modified food)” and simply states “No person shall sell any food that is genetically modified unless its label contains the information prescribed under paragraph 30(1)(b.2).”
Currently, there is no mandatory labeling of GMO foods in Canada despite intensive public campaigning. Instead, a national standard for voluntary labeling was established. Sixty-four other countries around the world have some type of mandatory labeling GM food law, including China, the European Union, Australia, Japan, Brazil, and Russia. Bill C-291 aims to add Canada into the mix.
“The purpose of the bill is simple: to obtain more transparent information on the labels of food that is consumed in Canada because Canadians have the right to know in detail what they consume,” says Pierre-Luc Dusseault, the NDP MP for Sherbrooke, Quebec. “That is why I introduced Bill C-291.”
Luckily, there are actions you can take to help ensure the passing of this bill. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) has created an online, automatic messaging system for retailers and consumers to get in touch with local MPs. To contact your MP about Bill C-291, click here.
To learn about other actions you can take, check out CBAN’s Bill C-291 Action Kit. CBAN also has store signage, posters, and additional information about this initiative for retailers and practitioners.
“Labelling GM foods will make things so much more simple for consumers, companies, and retailers alike,” adds Lucy Sharratt, co-ordinator for CBAN. “Moreover, having consumer input and support from Canadian businesses will be extremely influential in this case.”
To make your voice heard, take action—your work could have important long-term implications.