Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated

Canada at the UN Codex meeting on GM food labeling: Negotiations continue, U.S. increasingly isolated

Your actions worked – again!

Thanks to your letters, the Canadian government delegation to the UN
Codex meeting last week did not boldly ally itself with the U.S.
position against GM food labeling. The U.S. failed in their attempts
to stop the negotiations.

The Canadian government did not speak up to support the nonsensical
position from the U.S. that GM foods are no different from foods
produced through conventional methods. Though not yet actively
supporting a positive position on GM labeling, Canada did not obstruct
the meeting and the U.S. was not able to put an end to the
negotiations. Out of the over 50 countries at the negotiations, the
U.S. was only supported in its position by Mexico, Costa Rica, and
Argentina.

Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. was trying to put an end to the UN Codex negotiations on GM
labeling but the negotiations will continue. There will be an
important Codex meeting in May 2011 in Quebec City – and we must
continue to pressure the Minister of Health. The Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) will continue to take action and
monitor this issue, as well as collaborate with U.S. groups. Please
see below from Consumers Union in the U.S.

For updates and more information: http://www.cban.ca/labeling

Please consider your donation to support this campaign http://www.cban.ca/donate

May 10, 2010 Update

Press Release: Consumers Union Calls on U.S. to Support Genetically Modified Food Labeling Agreement

U.S. Stands Nearly Alone in Opposition at Recent International Meeting

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Reports, today called on the Obama Administration to endorse a
compromise on guidelines for labeling of genetically modified (GM)/
genetically engineered (GE) food, that was supported by the
overwhelming majority of nations during international negotiations
last week in Canada.  Consumers Union again expressed serious concerns
that the current U.S. position in opposition to the compromise on GE/
GM labeling could create major problems in the long term for U.S. and
foreign producers who want to label their products as free of GM/GE
ingredients.

At a meeting that concluded last Friday in Quebec of the Codex
Committee on Food Labeling (CCFL), an arm of Codex Alimentarius, the
United Nations food standards agency, the U.S. fought for a guideline
that Codex would not “suggest or imply that GM/GE foods are in any way
different from other foods.” The U.S. also refused to agree to
comprise language stating that Codex “recognizes that each country can
adopt different approaches regarding labeling” of GM/GE foods. However
the U.S. failed to rally support for its views.  Out of the
approximately 50 countries present for the discussion, the U.S. was
supported in its position by only three other countries: Mexico, Costa
Rica, and Argentina.  The CCFL Chair decided that the guideline should
be mediated in the near future in Brussels, with Ghana chairing the
meeting, so that the countries would could try and reach a consensus.

The U.S. opposes any draft Codex guideline that explicitly recognizes
that there are differences between GE/GM food and non-GE/GM, or that
states that countries can adopt different approaches to labeling of GE
food, in line with existing Codex guidance. The U.S. position states
that mandatory labeling of food as GE “is likely to create the
impression that the labeled food is in some way different” and would
therefore be “false, misleading or deceptive.”

“The current U.S. position could potentially create significant
problems for food producers in the U.S., and worldwide, who wish to
indicate that their products contain no GE ingredients, as well as for
countries that require labels on GE/GM food,” said Dr. Michael Hansen,
senior scientist at Consumers Union, and the lead spokesperson for the
220-member Consumers International at the meeting. “The U.S.
government clearly recognizes that there are differences between GE
and non-GE food–USDA organic rules specifically state that GE seed
cannot be used in organic production. The FDA has also taken the
position that within the U.S., voluntary labeling as to whether or not
a product contains GE ingredients is permissible. It is unclear why
the U.S. has taken a contrary position on GM/GE food at Codex.”

Codex guidelines are widely adopted by developing countries and are
used to settle trade challenges at the World Trade Organization
(WTO).  “The U.S. position at this international meeting is not
consistent with the U.S. position at home.  We urge the U.S. to bring
its position at Codex into alignment with domestic policy and allow
the compromise to go forward,” said Dr. Hansen.

Prior to the meeting, Consumers Union and more than 80 farmers, public
health, environmental, and organic food organizations sent a letter to
Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Food at the FDA, and to
Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary at the USDA, expressing serious
concerns with the U.S. position. FDA and USDA are the lead agencies
representing the U.S. government at Codex.  A copy of the letter can
be found online: http://www.consumersunion.org/pdf/Codex-comm-ltr-0410.pdf
. In addition, more than 111,000 concerned citizens signed a petition,
urging officials to change their position. A recent Consumers Union
poll found that two-thirds of consumers would be concerned if they
thought that GE/GM ingredients were in organic food.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Your actions worked! MPs voted for Bill C-474! (it will now be studied
by the Agriculture Committee.)
For more updates and action http://www.cban.ca/474
Donate today http://www.cban.ca/donate

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3 responses to “Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated

  1. Keep in mind that this delegation of representatives for the US is there without the endorsement of the US Citizens. Most of us don’t even know what a GMO is. I know, I’ve been asking around. You would be amazed at all the blank stares I’ve received. Things are changing though and we the citizens of the US who do know and are very frustrated that our government hasn’t been listening to our cries of NO MORE GMO…are very thankful for our neighbors in the north watching our backs on this. We are trying to turn this monster government we have around, but it has been running unchecked for so long that it thinks it is in charge. We are trying to fight Monsanto and we are going to need all the help we can get. Thanks.

    • We have very powerful GMO Activists in Canada: all funded. We take this stuff very seriously, and work hard to educate people. We are also here to help. There are no borders when it comes to GMO. It appears you need to create awareness campaigns – your country is so large it wouldn’t take much to start a wave. How can we help Laurie?

  2. This is author/syndicated columnist, David Lawrence Dewey.

    I have been writing about the dangers of hydrogenated oils, aspartame and
    GMO foods since 1996. I have devoted the last 14 years in educating consumers
    and readers. My hydrogenated oils column below which has been continuously updated since 1996 has been read by over 42 million people worldwide.

    I worked with Director David Burton on the film INGREEDIENTS. In 2000, with the help of over 400 Mothers across the country in a massive writing letter campaign to the FDA, we forced the trans-fat labeling requirement what went into effect Jan. 1st, 2004. We actually were petitioning the banning of hydrogenated oils period from the food supply, but the food lobbyists from the food corporations won and also got passed this ridiculous labeling exclusion that if the product contains less than 1/2 gram of trans-fat they can say trans-fat free on the product. However, many product contain up to .45 grams of trans-fat per serving. If there are 8 servings in one product, that person has consumed nearly 4 grams of heart clogging trans-fat.

    We must enforce the labeling of GMO foods on products. GMO foods ARE NOT THE
    same as natural foods. Actually GMO foods needs to be BANNED. We need to get Monsanto out of the food business by creating of frankenstein seeds that produce foods that are affecting the health and DNA of humans ! The FDA is hypocritical in the fact that no GMO seed can be used for crops that are grown organic. The hypocrisy is unbelievable and the only way this is going to be stopped if enough people call, write, fax every U.S. Senator including President Obama.

    Washington needs to HEAR from America on this issue and NOW!

    You Mothers out their, do you really understand what you are feeding your children and what you are damaging in them by feeding them GMO foods and all of these toxic chemicals in the food supply. Stop letting them drink anything that has high fructose corn syrup in it,
    most is made from genetically modified corn made by Monsanto. Do you realize you are giving your children diabetes by letting them drink anything or eat anything that has this deadly toxin?

    Here are some of my articles:

    Hydrogenated Oils-Silent Killer
    http://www.dldewey.com/hydroil.htm

    I talk about GMO foods in this article

    Aspartame – Sweetness or Death ?
    http://www.dldewey.com/aspar.htm

    Canola Oil – Danger !
    http://www.dldewey.com/canola.htm

    You can read about the documentary INGREEDIENTS here:
    http://www.dldewey.com.ingreed.htm

    This film will save your life!
    Spread the word, copy this post into emails and send to your family and friends.

    One voice can become MILLIONS, but it will take all of us to make those MILLIONS!

    ~ David Lawrence Dewey
    http://www.dldewey.com

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