September 29, 2015.
Ottawa, ON. A national Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) reveals 88 per cent of Canadians want genetically modified (GM) foods labeled on grocery store shelves. Of the over 1000 Canadians polled, over half oppose genetically modifying crops and animals to produce food.
“Our poll shows that Canadians have a range of concerns about genetically modified foods,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “The vast majority of Canadians who want labelling just want to know what’s in the food they’re eating. Canadians are also concerned about safety, the environmental impacts and some have ethical concerns about genetically modifying plants and animals.”
Since the first GM foods were approved for sale in Canada twenty years ago, polls have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of Canadians want mandatory labelling.
The new poll comes as the world’s first GM food animal – a GM Atlantic salmon – is pending approval from Health Canada. “45 per cent of Canadians polled said they definitely don’t want to eat the GM fish, but without labelling how can they make this choice?” asked Thibault Rehn of Vigilance OGM.
Health Canada does not test the safety of any GM foods, but relies on data from companies that want to sell GM products to Canadians. Most data from these studies is not available to the public.
“Poll results revealed six in ten Canadians are not confident in government safety and the regulatory systems for GM foods. This is an election year and Canadians are asking for more research and greater transparency from the government,” says Sharratt.
Report: GM foods don’t benefit consumers
CBAN has released a new report with the poll results as part of its GMO Inquiry 2015 series. The report, titled “Are GM Foods Better for Consumers?”, reviews the current state of scientific research on GM foods and the history of GM food labelling issues in Canada.
“This report shows we need much more research before concluding that GM foods are safe.” said Sharratt. “The science on GM food safety is feeble. Independent and long-term studies are rare and some studies point to possible problems, requiring further research.”
The report also shows that no GM foods currently on the market provide direct, or even indirect, benefits to consumers.
For more info: Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 809 1103, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Thibault Rehn, Vigilance OGM, 514 582 1674. The poll results are available at www.cban.ca/2015poll and the report is posted at www.gmoinquiry.ca/consumers
The GMO Inquiry 2015 is a project of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). CBAN is a campaign coalition of 17 organizations that researches, monitors and raises awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform.