Recently when Penticton Council sued the Lakeside Resort over an electrical dispute it was settled out of court. Why is the Skaha Park lawsuit not settled?
Though the City has failed to come to terms with the people of Penticton over the Skaha Waterslide debacle; they have begun Parks and Recreation consultations.
Why would Council think the citizenry believes they would honor our wishes when they failed so abysmally with Skaha?
Does this council understand that citizen participation in consultations is an unspoken two-part contract: Trust by the citizenry that Council will honor and respect the wishes of taxpayers’?
The local school boards also are a good example of abuse of trust. They could have saved parents a lot of time by telling them they weren’t interested in input. Trout Creek worked hard and spent thousands of hours researching and presenting a well-thought-out case only to have it spurned.
Can we believe the results from the Parks consultations or are we facing future bafflegab from Penticton council?
Penticton council and the school board have abused our trust. Once abused; trust can only be regained when earned. Settlement of the Skaha lawsuit would be a positive first step to restoring that trust.
Why has the Skaha Park lawsuit not been settled when the electrical lawsuit was swiftly settled? Months have passed and apparently the City’s lawyers have still to respond to the Skaha group. If the City is dragging its feet and not interested in proceeding with this case then what is holding it up?
Has this become a grudge match between two intractable parties? Is neither party willing to meet with the other? Has someone lost sight of the goal posts because they are focusing on grinding axes? Is someone abusing the mantle of power we gave them at our expense? That is the problem with secrecy and lack of communication.
For too long city council has conducted too much city business behind closed doors. But is the Skaha group any better? It is hard to fault the City on this when the Skaha group has been so uncommunicative.
Is lack of settlement the fault of the City or the Save Skaha Park group?
Give your heads a shake. The tourist season is here. People are fed up with this. It is time to move forward. Get this case settled. This impasse has carried on far too long.
Penticton residents should go onto the City website and obtain a copy of Bylaw No. 2002-42 and 2011-23 to follow this flow of Skaha Park information.
Bylaw No. 2002-42, within this Bylaw # 2 – “That the following herein described property is dedicated for Public Park Land”. Schedule “G” lists Skaha Park/Beach as dedicated Public Park Land. I believe, this can only be changed by a Public Referendum.
Zoning Bylaw No. 2011-23 – Chapter 4 – Definitions: 4.2 ACCESSORY USE means a use which is – as the permitted use.
Chapter 4 – Page 4-18- PERMITTED USE means the main or primary use of lands, buildings or structures and o others, which is provided for in the list of permitted uses in the zones of this Bylaw.
Chapter 4 – Page 4-19, RESTAURANT means a location where food and beverage are offered for sale to the public.
Chapter 8- Specific Use Regulations – Page 8-1 Application for Specific Use. 8.1.1 – The specific use regulations shall apply to all zones unless otherwise exempted in this Chapter.
Page 13-2. 13.2 P2 Parks and Recreation – PURPOSE:
This zone provides for parks, recreation and open space.
13.2.1 – PERMITTED USES:
The permitted uses in this zone are:
1-carnival 2-community garden 3-government services 4-indoor recreation 5-marina 6-outdoor amusement, entertainment and recreation 7-outdoor market 8-public parking lot 7-accessory use, building or structure.
RESTAURANT is not listed as one of the PERMITTED USES for Skaha Park under these Bylaws and therefore cannot be located within the marina building or on Skaha Park Land.
New Study: A Penn State study found that organic crops boost local economies, reducing poverty and increasing family incomes in rural America in areas where organics are grown. It’s just too bad that our government hasn’t seen the light and continues to subsidize GMO agriculture that enslaves farmers with expensive seed contracts, technology fees and toxic chemicals. GMO crops: Bad for the economy, bad for the planet, bad for our health.
WASHINGTON — The production of organic foods helps lower poverty and increase household incomes in rural America, according to a Penn State University study released Wednesday.
The study by agricultural economist Ted Jaenicke found that organic hot spots — counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity — increased median household incomes by an average of $2,000 and reduced poverty levels by an average of 1.3 percentage points.
In Iowa, there were six counties highlighted as organic hot spots: Allamakee, Clayton, Dubuque, Howard, Johnson and Fayette. Nationwide, 225 counties were identified ashot spots, or about 7 percent of all U.S. counties.
“I’m pretty optimistic that it might provide a new way of thinking about organic agriculture,” Jaenicke said.
He started researching organic because he was curious about the effect it had on local economies. The “strong and robust” impact of organic was much larger than he thought, Jaenicke said.
Jaenicke tabulated the results by identifying the quantity of organic farms and economic activity in the area. He then removed other factors influencing the local economy to gauge organic’s impact. He did not receive funding from the industry for his research.
While his study did not assess why organic benefited area economies, he speculated the reasons it does include the need for more labor and use of locally sourced inputs. Organic crops also typically command a significant premium compared to traditional crops, often paying the producer several times as much.
Laura Batcha, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, said the group was hopeful the data would spur policymakers, including state officials and lawmakers in Washington working on the next farm bill, to invest more in organic agriculture. She acknowledged organic isn’t the only solution to helping area economies.
We hope policymakers “will understand the role that organic can play in a portfolio,” Batcha said. “There is a useful role for organic agriculture in rural development but we’ve never to date yet had a real comprehensive look at (it).”
Organic food sales have risen by double digits annually as the public consumes more fruits, vegetables, pastas, dairy and meats raised and grown without synthetic pesticides, genetic modification or antibiotics, among other stringent requirements.
Last week, the trade group said sales of organic food hit a record of nearly $40 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year. Overall, all food sales rose 3 percent.
Millennials distrustful of Canada’s food system, survey finds
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May 31, 2016 7:00AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, May 31, 2016 7:00AM EDT
Millennials are less trusting of the food system in this country, according to a new study.
On Tuesday, the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity – a research group funded by the food industry – released results of a survey on public trust and food. The study reveals a shifting landscape regarding who Canadians view as trustworthy on food issues: away from traditional authorities such as government agencies and food associations, and towards family, friends and the Internet.
In general, the study found that millennials, compared to other demographics, have a lower level of trust in most of the groups who make up the food system – including farmers, grocery retailers, food companies, environmentalists and government.
For example, only 66 per cent of millennials rated farmers as “believable” when it comes to the environment – compared to 70 per cent on average. And only 48 per cent of millennials rated David Suzuki as believable – 8 per cent lower than the average.
Crystal Mackay, CEO of Farm & Food Care Canada, said the trends could be linked: that millennials’ reliance on the Internet for information could also be fuelling their distrust when it comes to food.
“Where people are going for their information: online and Google … The food associations and the government are not coming up in the top three [search result] pages,” she said.
Of the respondents, 15 per cent said their No. 1 source of information on food is the Internet, and websites. Twelve per cent said “Google.” The same number said their friends or family are their main sources.
The Canadian study is in line with survey results in the United States conducted by the Britain-based market research firm Mintel last year. That study found that 43 per cent of those between the age of 21 and 38 do not trust large food manufacturers. And 74 per cent said they wish companies were more transparent about how they manufacture food.
Over 2,100 participated in the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity survey, conducted in February and March of this year by Ipsos. The organization is the research arm of Farm & Food Care Canada, which aims to boost public trust in the food industry. The study was funded in part by Tim Hortons and the Egg Farmers of Ontario.
This was the first Centre for Food Integrity conducted in Canada, though the American chapter of the organization has done similar studies in years past.
The results revealed mixed feelings when it comes to how Canadians in general feel about their food.
Just 30 per cent of respondents said they feel that the country’s food system is heading in “the right direction.” Of the remaining respondents, 50 per cent said they were “unsure,” and 21 per cent responded by saying the system is on the “wrong track.”
One common concern cited by respondents was the use of hormones and pesticides in growing food. Over 40 per cent said they are “personally concerned” about the use of such products.
Fewer than half of respondents said they view groups such as grocery retailers, government scientists, animal-welfare groups or government scientists, in a favourable light. In fact, less than a quarter, 23 per cent, of respondents said that they trust that the government food-inspection system ensures the safety of their food.
But that skepticism does not seem to extend to the agriculture industry itself. Sixty-nine per cent view farmers favourably, and 61 per cent have a “very or somewhat positive” impression of Canadian agriculture.
Despite all of this, an overwhelming majority – 93 per cent – acknowledge that they know “little, very little or nothing” about farming practices.
It’s one of those horrible things that people who follow alternative media are well aware of, but it’s rare to hear an actor come out and admit it in the mainstream media.
Actor Elijah Wood has gone on record in a London Times interview to say that Hollywood is covering up an organized pedophile ring similar to the scandal surrounding Britain’s Jimmy Savile.
Thirty-five-year-old Wood admitted there are “parties” where innocent, naive young actors are “preyed upon” in Hollywood by a powerful elite, and that “It was all organized.”
“There is darkness in the underbelly—if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
Wood goes on to say that those who attempt to speak out get “squashed” and their lives are ruined, to be expected.
The actor believes these things are going on right now and the general public has no idea: “I’ve been led down dark paths to realize that these things probably are still happening,” he said.
Well, why would they stop when there have never been any consequences?
He hedged himself in the way he discussed it, but still. At least he’s saying something. What’s more horrifying is that large portions of Hollywood and especially many more actors who started their careers at a young age totally know what’s really going on and none of them will come forward. Not a peep.
Can you imagine the power if a large number of them stood in solidarity and spoke out against this disgusting system? They really could actually bring it down.
Too bad they don’t realize the power they have… or are too worried about their careers to do the right thing, not just for themselves, but all the other current and future victims who will be harmed by this.
Arran Stephens, CEO of Nature’s Path, in the Nature’s Path garden in Richmond, B.C. The family-owned business owes its organic roots to Stephens’ father, who started an organic berry farm long before organics were trendy.
Way before “organic” became a rallying cry of trendsetters, Arran Stephens’ father, Rupert, ran an organic berry farm on Vancouver Island and imparted these words to his son: “Always leave the soil better than you found it.” That fuelled his worldview and the company he launched years later.
Stephens opened the first vegetarian restaurant and natural supermarket in Canada in 1967 and 1971 respectively, when less than a dozen existed across North America. “I was very idealistic,” he said of those heady days. In the world of entrepreneurship, where idealism typically holds wallflower status, it’s worth noting that Stephens wouldn’t be co-founder and chief executive of Richmond, B.C.-based Nature’s Path, Canada’s leading brand of organic snack and breakfast food, without those romantic ideals coaxing him forward. You could say idealism spurred the movement currently giving conventional players a run for their revenue.
The organic industry contributes more than $3.5 billion a year to the Canadian economy, with more than 20 million Canadians choosing organic options for their groceries each week, the Canadian Organic Trade Association claims. “It appears to be a lasting lifestyle choice as opposed to a fad,” said Helen Long, president of the Canadian Health Food Association, noting more and more Canadians are discovering organic health benefits.
In this video we have a surprize guest post from “Understanding More” a spoken word artists who under 2 min explains the globalist corporate takeover that is the TPP. With the trade deal being shrouded in mystery benefiting primarily the elite, it’s only the alternative media that has been keeping the public aware of the crave changes that will be enacted from the TPP.
People of all ages participated in Penticton’s fifth annual March against Monsanto, Saturday, at Gyro Park.
Children made signs, while adults listened to guest speakers and checked out displays set up at the park.
“It’s not in our best interest to be growing these GMO products if other countries aren’t accepting them anymore,” said organizer Kevin Proteau, with Locals Supporting Locals. “And the sad part is with all these countries marching around the world, we shouldn’t be here for the fifth time.
Why are we still talking about this?”
March Against Monsanto is a worldwide event that takes place in over 40 countries and 400 cities on the same day.
More than 38 countries have either banned GMOs including Russia or are restricting the importation of GMO goods or placing moratoriums until more research is conducted.
In Canada, the organic food sector has seen dramatic growth in recent years with consumption developing at a faster rate than production.
Saturday’s event at the park included the march through the downtown, sign-making, displays and guest speakers.
Included in the speakers at the event was Gabe Cipes from Summerhill Pyramid Winery and the vice-president of the Certified Organic Association of B.C.
Cipes was there to discuss alternatives to conventional agriculture and the threat of trans-genetically modified organisms.
“This is about re-connecting to the earth. It’s good to recognize the disconnect and it’s good to see that people are aware of how corporations are exploiting the earth and people for profit,” he said. “We need more people to be involved in the food system and to be connected to their hearts and nature.”
Penticton resident Julie Humphries said she was there to do some painting with the kids and make signs for the rally.
“I support the production of organic foods as well as Locals Supporting Locals, because I believe by having a strong community we have a strong voice,” she said.
Emmalise Pickles, who was there making signs with her siblings, offered a young person’s viewpoint on the issue.
“We are participating because we want healthy food for the rest of our lives,” she said.
Investment analysts say Oxitec’s GM mosquito technology “won’t work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue”. Now three law firms have announced they are investigating. Claire Robinson reports
On 25 April, PR Newswire carried an announcement by a law firm that is investigating the biotech firm Intrexon for allegedly misleading investors and potentially violating US securities law. The law firm cites allegations in a new report on Intrexon’s performance and prospects from a company called Spotlight Research. The law firm invites people who have purchased shares or have information on Intrexon’s dealings to get in contact. Two other law firms have also launchedinvestigations.
Intrexon owns the GM mosquito firm Oxitec. Intrexon shares rallied by around 100% in the past three months due to the hype around the company’s ability to use GM mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus. Zika is blamed for causing birth defects in babies born to mothers who were infected with the virus during pregnancy.
Is the hype justified? Not according to Spotlight’s report, which was published last Thursday, 21 April. The report says Oxitec’s GM mosquito technology “won’t work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue from Zika virus despite adding $2 billion of market cap due to the hype”.
Intrexon shares fell nearly 30% on the day of the report’s publication.
What does Spotlight’s report say? Here’s a summary.
In its report, Spotlight likens Intrexon to Theranos, a biomedical company that became mired in controversy after reports that it failed to deliver on its hyped promises while also trying to hide its problems – and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
Bill Maris, founder of Google Ventures, explained why Google Ventures did not invest in Theranos:
“We looked at it a couple times, but there was so much hand-waving – like, look over here! – that we couldn’t figure it out. So we just had someone from our life-science investment team go into Walgreens and take the test. And it wasn’t that difficult for anyone to determine that things may not be what they seem here.”
Spotlight’s analysts believe that they see the same syndrome at Intrexon: “We saw the ‘hand-waving’ at Intrexon and the promotional activity of the company’s charismatic founder as serious red flags and began our intensive due diligence. We are shocked by what we have found.”
Spotlight claims that in a series of 8 reports, it will “debunk all core aspects of the bull case to comprehensively demonstrate that things are definitively not ‘what they seem here’.”
“Nonsensical” Zika virus hype
Spotlight’s first report is titled “Intrexon: The Public Markets’ Theranos Part 1 – Zika Virus Hype Is Nonsensical”.
In the report, Spotlight states that Intrexon’s technology has been questioned by high-ranking officials from the World Health Organisation, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institutes of Health. It adds, “Smart money is hitting the ‘eject’ button and leaving retail investors holding the bag.”
According to the report:
• Intrexon’s long-time chief operations officer has abruptly left the company in advance of what are hyped as great opportunities
• Intrexon has overstated its revenues by 50% by “round-tripping” its own cash through related “shell companies”
• These related companies are almost exclusively “failed” or “shady” enterprises; blue chip companies have steered clear
• Even the related company transactions may be overstated
• Intrexon’s biofuels interests are likely to fail: the head of the company’s biofuels division “has worked at three failed biofuel startups in a row”.
No meaningful value
Spotlight says that this “self‐proclaimed ‘Google of life sciences’ technology platform is an overhyped, undifferentiated collection of commodity and failed products”. It adds that the company “employs lots of fancy jargon to explain their core technologies” – but “we examined each closely and we found nothing more than a collection of products that anyone can (and does) use themselves smashed together with failed science experiments from years ago”. Thus, while Intrexon “can pursue as many clinical trials utilizing their commoditized technology as they like to keep the dream alive, such trials in our view are extremely unlikely to result in valuable commercial products in the future. And without a real prospect of commercialized products, there can be no meaningful equity value.”
The report adds, “Intrexon has been around for more than 17 years and commercialized effectively zero meaningful commercial products using their own technology. Their technology is a ‘secret’. Nobody can explain exactly what they do… The company is only able to generate revenue through related party transactions and selling livestock. The fair value of this company is minuscule compared to its current market cap of ~$4.5 billion.”
Zika: no game-changer
Spotlight says that if Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes, which are engineered to be sterile, were shown to effectively combat the Zika virus, that could be a “game-changer” for Intrexon – but “we think that it clearly is not.” Oxitec has spent a decade fighting dengue fever and malaria, two far more serious diseases than Zika, with its technology, but “wasn’t able to generate any meaningful amount of revenues… why should Zika be any different?”
The report points out that “Oxitec has never actually measured the impact of dengue fever on its GM mosquito releases in any country, despite a scientific consensus that such measurements would be necessary to determine whether the technology was effective.”
What’s more, Spotlight says, there is some evidence to suggest that Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes actually make things worse rather than better: “A village in Brazil where the mosquitoes were being tested showed an increase in dengue fever cases.”
In an apparent comment on the potential for Intrexon to capitalize on the fear that’s been generated around the Zika virus, Spotlight says that the company is not allowing the facts to get in the way of a good story, “particularly when it involves scaring consumers/retail investors into buying up Intrexon stock”.
Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes are just one of a number of risky GMO products that have been acquired by Intrexon. The company also owns Okanagan Specialty Fruits, developer of the GMO Arctic apple. Growers are reportedly shunning it in order to avoid the GMO stigma.
Intrexon also owns the majority share of AquaBounty, the developer of GMO salmon. Commercialization of the salmon has stalled, pending the US FDA issuing labelling guidelines. Even if the GMO fish does make it onto the market, some retailers have said they won’t stock it.
Intrexon fights back
In a statement released last Friday, Intrexon called the Spotlight report “materially false and misleading” and said it appears to be part of a hedge fund campaign to manipulate the company’s stock, damage the reputation of the company and its CEO, and benefit from the consequent trading activity. It also said that it had sought the advice of lawyers and was taking “appropriate steps”.
In the midst of the row, Intrexon CEO Randal Kirk was named by Wired magazine as one of “25 geniuses who are creating the future of business”. Kirk told Wired, “Analysts don’t understand our company.”
Other responses to the report
In spite of Intrexon’s indignant response, Spotlight’s report appears to have struck a chord with some analysts.
The stock commentary website Citron Research responded to the report by saying that it had previously sold its shares in Intrexon “as we found none of the company’s businesses to have any imminent viability”. It added, “its businesses are too scattered with partners that Citron believes are not as they appear to be. Lastly, what has bothered us about Intrexon is while the company has not been shy about going to investment conferences and selling stock offerings, they were never able obtain a smart money biotech shareholder. If they don’t get it, then we don’t get it.”
The investment website, The Motley Fool, also reacted with a downbeat verdict on Intrexon’s performance and prospects:
“Despite several potentially promising research programs underway, Intrexon remains unprofitable, with management reporting an operating loss of $147 million in 2015… Intrexon lost investors $84 million last year… While Intrexon may be intriguing, the jury is still out on Oxitec’s ability to curb the spread of Zika virus better than existing methods. For that reason, investors might be better off focusing on other investment ideas.”
My own verdict on the Spotlight report is that its motivation and provenance are uncertain – I couldn’t find out much about Spotlight Research and the document’s authors are anonymous. But the case made against Intrexon and Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes business appears convincing and reflects what we and other critics of this approach to insect-borne diseases have said for many years.
Now, with the law firms’ involvement, the questions over the worth of Intrexon’s GMO ‘solutions’ may not be solved in Internet debates, but in the courts.
German drugs and chemicals group Bayer has made an unsolicited takeover proposal to U.S. seeds company Monsanto, aiming to create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier and take advantage of converging pesticides and seeds markets.
Monsanto disclosed the approach on Wednesday before Bayer confirmed its move, though neither released proposed terms.
The $42 billion market capitalization of Monsanto means that the deal would be likely to eclipse ChemChina’s planned acquisition of Swiss agrichemicals company Syngenta — a target Monsanto itself pursued last year — and could face U.S. antitrust hurdles.
A Monsanto statement said that its board was reviewing the proposal, which is subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals and other conditions. There is no assurance that any transaction will take place, it added.
Bayer shares dropped more than 8 percent to a 2-1/2 year low of 88.39 euros in early Thursday trading, with some investors worried by the potential cost of a deal.
Monsanto shares were seen 7.6 percent higher at $104.50 in pre-market trades.
UBS Global Asset Management, which Reuters data shows is among Bayer’s 30 biggest investors, said it was “deeply concerned” about the burden on Bayer’s finances from a takeover, saying it would prefer the companies to agree a joint venture or a nil-premium merger.
Deutsche Bank analysts said a deal could shift Bayer’s center of gravity to agriculture, accounting for about 55 percent of core earnings, up from roughly 28 percent last year excluding the Covestro chemicals business Bayer plans to sell.
That would have a negative impact on sentiment among Bayer’s healthcare-focusedinvestor base, the bank said.
Bayer, which has a market value of $90 billion, said the merger would create “a leading integrated agriculture business”, referring to Bayer’s push to seek more synergies from combining the development and sale of seeds and crop protection chemicals.
Most of the major agrichemical companies are aiming to genetically engineer more robust plants and custom-build chemicals to go with them, selling them together to farmers who are struggling to contend with low commodity prices.
While no takeover price was mentioned by either company, Bernstein Research analyst Jeremy Redenius estimated that it would be 41.9 billion euros ($47 billion), plus 6.7 billion euros in assumed debt. He said that Bayer might need a 27 billion euro share issue to help to fund the purchase.
Citi analysts have said that Bayer would probably need to pay 14-16 times Monsanto’s core earnings, implying a takeover price including debt of 57 billion euros to 65 billion euros.
A sale of Bayer’s stake in foam chemicals maker Covestro could raise about 4 billion euros, while its animal health business, which Bayer has said it might put on the block, could fetch up to 7 billion euros.
The proposal comes as ChemChina’s deal for Syngenta faces regulatory review in the United States over concerns about the security of U.S. food supply.
Any deal between Bayer and Monsanto, which would be Bayer’s largest by far and dwarf the 17 billion euro takeover of drugmaker Schering in 2006, could raise U.S. antitrust concerns because of an overlap in seeds business, particularly in soybeans, cotton and canola, antitrust experts have said.
The proposal comes less than three weeks after Werner Baumann took over as Bayer chief executive, a sign of the power base he built in his previous role as strategy chief.
Bayer, the inventor of aspirin and maker of Yasmin birth control pills, is far more diversified than Syngenta or Monsanto, with products including cancer drugs, flea and tick collars for pets and Coppertone sunscreen. Some analysts have said a deal with Monsanto could lead to a break up of the group.
Bayer’s crop science division has businesses in seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control, potentially complementing Monsanto’s seeds assets.
BAYER, BASF AMBITIONS
Both Bayer and German rival BASF SE have been looking to build scale in agrichemicals. Monsanto said after its failure to land Syngenta that it didn’t need to do a deal, but it has also been involved in discussions.
Monsanto approached Bayer this year to express interest in the latter’s crop science unit, in the form of an acquisition or joint venture, sources told Reuters in March.
Both Bayer and BASF had been exploring tie-ups with Monsanto for months but valuation concerns have made a deal elusive, sources have said.
Bayer is ranked No. 2 in crop chemicals, with an 18 percent market share, just behind Syngenta on 19 percent, industry data shows.
Monsanto is the leader in seeds, with a 26 percent market share, followed by DuPont with 21 percent. DuPont agreed last year to merge with Dow Chemical. Any Bayer-Monsanto deal would further reduce the number of major players in seeds and pesticides to four from six.
Morgan Stanley and Ducera Partners are financial advisers to Monsanto, the company said in its statement, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is legal adviser.
(Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Victoria Bryan in Berlin)
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Monsanto is displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S. on May 9, 2016.
Health Canada Approves First GM Fish Amidst Environmental and Transparency Concerns
May 19, 2016. Ottawa. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society and the Quebec network Vigilance OGM are expressing concerns over Health Canada’s approval of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal, a GM Atlantic salmon, for human consumption.
“Canadians could now be faced with the world’s first GM food animal, approved with no public consultation and no labelling,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN.
Health Canada announced approval of the GM fish for human consumption in a conference call today.(1) The Atlantic salmon has been genetically modified to using genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout, to grow faster. The Canadian decision follows a US government safety approval in November 2015, though there is now a US import ban on the GM fish until some form of labelling standard is established.
“At the very least, the government should immediately establish mandatory labelling of all GM foods so consumers can choose,” said Thibault Rehn of Vigilance OGM.
The latest consumer poll shows 88% of Canadians want mandatory labelling of all GM foods and 45% said they would definitely not eat the GM salmon.(2)
In November 2013, the Minister of Environment approved commercial production of the GM fish eggs and fish, triggering a court case brought forward by environmental groups Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society. The case is ongoing.(3)
“GM salmon production threatens the future of wild Atlantic salmon,” said Calinda Brown of the Ecology Action Centre, “Retailers can protect consumers and the environment by making sure this GM fish never makes it to grocery store shelves.”
Major retailers in the US have already pledged not to sell the GM salmon.(4)
The US company AquaBounty (now majority owned by biotechnology company Intrexon) says it initially plans to produce GM salmon eggs at its facility in Prince Edward Island in Canada, and ship the eggs to Panama for grow out and processing. However, the company has approval to raise the GM salmon in Canada.
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For more information:
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, a project of Tides Canada, 613 809 1103
Thibault Rehn, Vigilance OGM, 514 582 1674
Calinda Brown, Ecology Action Centre, 613 371 5597
Mark Butler, Ecology Action Centre, 902 266 5401
Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society, 604 788 5634
Sharon Labchuk, Islanders Say No to Frankenfish, 902 626 7327
(1) With less than 24 hours notice, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency invited stakeholders to join a conference call today May 19 2016 for an “Update on a Regulatory Decision Related to Food.” This is the first time that federal regulatory agencies have announced a GM food approval outside of just notifying the company that requested approval and later posting the decision to government websites. For information on Canadian regulation see CBAN’s report http://www.cban.ca/regulation
(2) Ipsos Reid, September 2015, Commissioned by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network http://www.cban.ca/2015poll