Greenpeace Canada

Greenpeace Canada

January 19, 2007 10:32 ET

BC Voters Support Mandatory Labelling of GE Food

New poll shows British Columbians support mandatory labelling of GE food and would make it an issue in the next provincial election

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER/BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 19, 2007) - The vast majority of British Columbian residents believe that the government should follow the advice of the provincial health officer and make the labelling of genetically engineered (GE) food mandatory, a poll conducted by Stratcom Communications on behalf of Greenpeace Canada shows.

"The voters of BC have said with unanimity that they want to know what is in their food. They demand to know if their food is contaminated with genetically engineered organisms," said Josh Brandon, GE campaigner with Greenpeace. "The liberal government of Quebec has already committed to GE labelling, and 45 countries around the world label GE food. British Columbians deserve nothing less. They have the right to know what they are eating, and politicians hoping to win votes in the upcoming provincial election are advised to listen to their demands."

The results of the poll, which found 79 per cent of BC residents support legislation requiring all GE food to be labelled, indicate that the issue could be significant in the next provincial election. Responses show that GE food is a concern that crosses party lines with support for mandatory labelling particularly high among women (84%), voters 35-49 years old (84%), and Green and NDP voters (90% and 85%).

"The idea that genes from bacteria or other organisms may be mixed with their corn, soy and canola does not sit well with British Columbians," added Brandon. "Labelling is essential if people are to have the right to say no to this untested and potentially environmentally dangerous technology."

It is estimated that as many as 70% of the 30,000 processed foods on grocery store shelves in Canada include genetically engineered organisms, but consumers wouldn't know it. Despite the call for voluntary labelling by the federal government, not one food has been found in Canada labelled as containing genetically modified organisms. Nor does the public or even the scientists know the effects of GE food on human health as there have been no long-term studies to determine this.

"Residents in BC are very sophisticated in terms of what they want from labels," added Brandon. "The majority of those who support mandatory labelling want individual ingredients that have been genetically modified to be identified. What this says is that consumers feel they have a right to more information about what they are putting in their bodies."

The Stratcom poll of 601 BC eligible voters was conducted between November 23 and November 30, 2006. It has a margin of error +/- 4.0%. A copy of the report is available on request.

For more information contact:

Josh Brandon, Greenpeace Canada, GE campaigner, cell: 604-721-7493
Andrew Male, Greenpeace Canada, Communications, cell: 416-880-2757

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