Help us make British Columbia GE Free

Join us! There are many ways you can help out:

Become a member of ge free bc

Signing up gives you our newsletter and bulletins by email. However, joining through paid membership means we are able to continue our hard work at keeping BC GE Free! Please help us out any way you can. Memberships start at $10! Scroll down and you can donate and join GE Free BC through the button to the right of this text.

VOLUNTEER

GE Free BC is a 100 per cent volunteer run NPO. 100% of your membership fee goes to campaigns. And we need your help. If you have time, want to work with an energetic group of great humans, and are interested in helping to create a better and healthier world (especially here in BC)  then…     WE NEED YOU!

Email gefreebc07@yahoo.ca and let’s talk!

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Country Grocers says no to the GE apple

Many thanks to Country Grocer, the Vancouver Island and Saltspring supermarket, which has committed to not selling the GE apple. Country Grocer has seven stores in  in Victoria (Esquimalt, Royal Oak), Ganges, Nanaimo (Bowen Road, Chase River), Lake Cowichan, and Cobble Hill.

Close to 100 stores across BC have now committed to not selling the GE apple.

Do you want to help out? If you have a local grocery store that you think would sign on to not selling the GE apple, please go to https://gefreebc.wordpress.com/apple/ and download the retail letter from HANS (our partner agency in this campaign) and take it into the store and get it signed.

If no stores stock the apple, investors will pull the plug on it, as they did with the genetically engineered pig that was being developed at the University of Guelph.

Here’s your chance to make a difference.

BC fruit growers say stop the GE apple

Please see the media release from the BC Fruit Growers Association who strongly oppose the introduction of the GE apple which was approved by the US government a couple of days back. Fruit growers across Canada and the US have all said the same, so why is the apple being developed?(Kelowna) – The BC Fruit Growers’ Association stated its ongoing opposition to the approval of Genetically Modified (GM) apples in Canada, despite the approval of the GM “Arctic” Granny Smith and GM “Arctic” Golden Delicious in the US today ( http://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2015/SA_arctic_apples.pdf ). The “Arctic” Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are genetically engineered to modify the gene which controls apple browning. When cut, the apple does not brown, mainly resulting in cosmetic benefit and enhancing the efficiency of fresh cut apple processors. Other apples are available which are naturally slow to oxidise, or brown, when cut. The fruit grower association (representing 520 commercial tree fruit growers in the Okanagan, with BC annual farmgate value of apples of $45.3 million) has opposed the approval of GM apples in Canada due to possible market backlash that could impact all apples. “We regret that the US is approving the Arctic Granny Smith and Arctic Golden Delicious. The apple is considered a pure, unadulterated product, similar to milk. In a 2012 national survey of consumers, 71% said they agreed that there should be categories of food that should not be genetically engineered. Our members would like the apple market to remain free of GM apples,” said Steele. The BCFGA notifies the Canadian public that the situation is, as follows: the Arctic Apple is not approved in Canada at this time. – it would take at least 4 years before any significant volume of arctic apples were available in the marketplace, and even then the volume would be – it is only two varieties of Arctic apple which are are approved in the US at this time Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. “If consumers want to be perfectly assured that they are not eating a GMO apple, then avoid purchase of US Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples . We will advise the public when the product is approved in Canada, and seek to isolate any damage that the apple will cause in the marketplace by advising consumers how to continue purchasing apples while avoiding the Arctic Apple, if they so desire. We would prefer if the Canadian government would place a moratorium on the Arctic Apple, until we see the result of the market experiment in the US,” concluded Steele. The BCFGA represents 520 commercial tree fruit growers in BC and the Fédération des Producteurs de Pommes du Québec represents 555 commercial tree fruit farms in Québec

GE Free BC and CBAN press release on the GE apple

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Canadian Groups Demand Market Stay Closed to GM Apple, as US Government Approves Genetically Modified “Non-Browning” Apple

February 13, 2015. Ottawa. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the Society for a GE Free BC are raising the alarm after learning that the US government has approved the first genetically modified (GM) apple.

“The Canadian market needs to remain closed to this GM apple,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “Health Canada should not approve this apple. Consumers and farmers simply don’t want it on the market.”

The small BC company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, owns the GM apple which is genetically modified (also called genetically engineered) to not turn brown after being cut, for 15-18 days according to the company. If approved by Canadian regulators, this would be the second GM fruit on the market anywhere in the world, after a US-grown papaya, and it would be the first GM fruit grown in Canada.

The US Department of Agriculture has approved the GM apple for growing and sale in the US, and the US Food and Drug Administration is now engaging in a voluntary food safety assessment consultation with the company.

A 2012 survey commissioned by the BC Fruit Growers’ Association and the Federation of Quebec Apple Growers showed that 69% of Canadians don’t want it approved.[1] Just last year, a petition asking the BC government for a moratorium on the GM apple was submitted with over 7,000 signatures, gathered by the Society for a GE Free BC in 20 communities.

“This apple is an outrage,” said Teresa Lynne of the Society for a GE Free BC, “We don’t need it and we don’t want it.”

The company says that GM apples in grocery stores would be labeled with the company’s trademark, but they will not be clearly labeled as genetically modified. The company promises a similar label on any food products that have ingredients from the GM apple but it’s not clear how this would be implemented or enforced.

“We would never sell this GM apple in our stores. Our customers don’t want it and I don’t see a benefit for the apple industry,” said Robert Horricks, BC orchardist and CEO of Blush Lane Organic Markets, Alberta.

Over 77 stores as well as two food distributors in BC, and some across the country, have already pledged not to sell the GM apple. Major food companies including McDonald’s and Gerber have already stated that they have no plans to source or sell this genetically modified apple.[2]

“All Canadian retailers and food manufacturers should urgently reassure their customers that they will never sell or use this GM apple,” said Sharratt.

The BC Fruit Growers Association has already asked the Canadian government to halt approval of the GM apple because of market rejection concerns.

Organic apple growers in BC have long opposed the GM apple because of contamination concerns.

– 30 –

For more information: Lucy Sharratt, CBAN, 613 809 1103; Teresa Lynne, Society for a GE Free BC, 604 475 4457; Robert Horricks, Blush Lane Organic Markets, 403 869 9594

Notes:

[1] Poll available at http://www.bcfga.com/files/file/Report%20on%20GE%20survey%20-%20July%203%202012.pdf

[2] Statements from McDonalds and Gerber available at http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/genetic-engineering/no-gmo-apples

Tell the BC goverment to carry out the review it promised on the GE apple

We need your help and support even more now the GE apple has been approved in the US.

Please sign the petition to stop the GE apple – every time someone signs a message is sent to the Minister of Agriculture Norm Leitnick telling him to carry out the review the Liberal government promised about the GE apple. This may not make a difference on its own, but we also now have 77 stores across BC committed to not selling the GE apple. So please go to the link below and sign on, and contact us at gefreebc07@yahoo.ca if you want more info.

http://www.change.org/p/norm-letnick-review-the-possible-effects-of-the-gm-apple-on-the-bc-apple-industry

Ask you local store not to sell the GE apple

Please go to your local store and ask them to commit to not selling the GE apple. You can find a sample letter to take into your store and one to be signed by the store here

So far 77 stores across the Province have signed. The more that sign, the less chance there is the GE apple will ever make it to market. If the investors in the GE apple don’t think there is a market for it, they will pull funding and the GE apple will disappear, as happened with the GE pig being development at Guelph University.

Then let us know if your local store has signed – email to gefreebc07@yahoo.ca

USDA approves the GE apple

The US approved the GE apple today. It has not been approved in Canada, but Canada may follow suit.

This isn’t a surprise as the USDA approves pretty much all GE applications. The majority of those approved never make it to market.

We are going to include actions you can take in the next two posts. Act now or the future of apples is genetically engineered.

There has been a fair bit of press on this here in BC, on BC Almanac and CTV.

There is still time to stop the GE apple even if it is approved in Canada, but now it’s even more urgent. HANS and GE Free BC are running a marketing campaign to get stores to commit to not selling the apple. So far 77 stores and 2 food processors have committed, and we are signing more up every day. If there is no market for the GE apple it won’t fly.

We are  also pressing the BC government to carry out the review of the GE apple it promised in 2012, when it said it was concerned about the impact of the apple on the BC fruit industry.

 

oops we forgot the photo of Blue Moon Organics!!!

Blue Moon Organics pleadge letter