Despite the fact that 233 consumer and farmer groups in 26 countries have joined the "Definitive Global Rejection of GM Wheat", Canadian MPs voted Wednesday evening to reject stronger export rules for crops of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Legislators crossed party lines and cast 178 votes in favor of quashing the bill; 98 MPs were in favor of more stringent export regulations for GMO crops.
With the Parliament’s decision, exports of genetically modified crops by Canadian farmers would continue to be approved based on safety for human consumption and environmental release.
The 233 groups signed the rejection statement first launched by 15 Australian, Canadian and U.S. farmer and consumer groups in June 2009.
"Canadian farmers have just lost their export sales to Europe and other markets because of GM flax contamination from a GM variety deregistered a decade ago and never even sold. Our current experience with GM flax contamination clearly illustrates the crippling losses Canadian farmers will suffer if GM wheat is introduced," said Terry Boehm, a flax and wheat farmer and President of the National Farmers Union in Canada. "Flax is yet another warning that once a GM crop is introduced, contamination is inevitable."
The MPs voted to exclude as criteria potential harm to export markets and economic harm to farmers if buyers are not in favor of genetically engineered harvest.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz hailed the defeat of the bill because GMOs provides an innovative technology that allows Canadian farmers to be competitive in the world market.
While there has been lesser resistance to GMO crops, the National Farmers Union – which is against GMO foods – pointed out that Canadian farmers’ largest market potential is in Europe, which is basically in opposition to the importatoin and consumption of genetically engineered foods.
Because Canada’s labeling law do not require disclosure of genetically modified content, Canadian consumers in fact have been using and eating genetically modified food for about 10 years, mostly corn, soya and canola.
Canadian announced last year that its government was poised to approve eco-friendly genetically modified (GM) pigs for the food supply.