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© 2017 Peas in a Pod Films

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead

TAKE ACTION!

Call or write your elected political representative. Ask how they voted on the last labeling bill and share your views. (Scroll below for an example of the filmmaker's own own correspondence). If you would like to make a copy of the film available to your elected representative, please contact us and we will provide them with a password-protected link to view the film.

If you see soy, corn, canola, or sugar in the processed food you buy, call the 1-800 number on the package and ask them to source non-GMO ingredients or label the GMO ingredients. Now that the USDA has released the guidelines of its so-called "GMO disclosure" law, which allows companies to opt out of clear text labels, we can pressure specific companies to do the right thing and show leadership in transparency by indicating GMO content via clear text on-package labels. If major companies do it, they will set the standard for others to follow. Click here the sign the petition to Kelloggs.

Vote with your fork! Buy from organic farmers since organic certification prohibits the us of GMOs. Shop at your local farmer's market and get to know your farmer. Commit to sourcing certified organic foods whenever possible, especially for products containing corn, soy, canola, and sugar. Livestock feed is largely made-up of GMO soy and corn, so you can have a huge impact by sourcing your eggs, dairy, and meat products from farms that pasture their animals and use organic animal feed. Buy grass-fed meat instead of grain-fed. Look for the Non-GMO Project verified butterfly.

Organize a screening of MODIFIED in your community! Get in touch with us to access the film: modifieddocumentary@gmail.com or fill-out our community screening request form

Organize a screening of MODIFIED in your community! Get in touch with us to access the film: modifieddocumentary@gmail.com or fill-out our community screening request form

New Updates (2019):

AMERICANS: To read an update on the USDA's new "GMO disclosure law" which came about as a result of the DARK Act, please click here.

CANADIANS: There's a new petition to label GMOs in Canada!

The following organizations are at the forefront of research, policy change, and action to create a more transparent and sustainable food system. Please follow them on social media and consider making a contribution to their work:

My letter to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Halifax MP Andy Fillmore in April 2017, preceding the vote on a federal GMO labeling bill.

Dear Mr. Fillmore,

I am a documentary filmmaker producing a feature-length documentary, "Modified", which documents Canada's reluctance to label genetically engineered foods, even while 64 countries around the world are labelling them. I've worked on this film for 10 years and during this time, I've witnessed how over the 20 years since GMOs were introduced to Canada, every major poll has shown that more than 80% of Canadians want to know if their food has been genetically engineered so that they can make an informed choice at the grocery store. This is a democratic choice about the intimate, personal act of choosing what we put into our bodies.

I am concerned that the Liberal government is not supporting Bill C-291, an act to finally bring GMO labelling to Canada. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, I believe it is your duty to uphold the values of a democracy and to respect the wishes of the majority of Canadians who want the right to know what's in the food they eat and feed their loved ones. It is especially alarming that the Liberals are not supporting this bill, given Prime Minister Trudeau's repeated claims about ushering in a new era of transparency, openness, and "listening to Canadians". It would seem that the values of openness and transparency should include having a right to know what is in our food and making an informed choice at the grocery store.

In my film, I document how in 2001, the Royal Society of Canada, our most eminent body of scientists in this country, released a scathing report showing that our regulatory system is deeply dysfunctional since GMO approvals are based entirely on industry studies that are not peer-reviewed. The Royal Society's report made 53 recommendations to the federal government for how to fix our broken regulatory system and bring it in line with peer-reviewed science and the precautionary principle. To this day, only 2 out of those 53 recommendations have been implemented. This is unacceptable. Canadians deserve the right to know which foods contain GMOs, just as 64 countries around the world share that basic right. At the very least, until the Canadian government is prepared to implement the Royal Society of Canada's recommendations, it should provide Canadians with the information necessary to make a choice.

Sincerely,
Aube Giroux

****

April 28, 2017

Good afternoon Aube,

Ensuring the safety, quality and integrity of Canada’s food supply is a top priority for our Government. Canada has one of the safest, most affordable, and most abundant food supplies in the world, and that is due in no small part to our science based regulatory system.

 

Before genetically modified products are sold to Canadians, they undergo a rigorous science-based health and safety assessment that determines whether they are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts. Health Canada is responsible for health and safety information on food labels and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for all other information. The CFIA enforces food labelling requirements. If new information relevant to the safety of a food product comes to light, both the CFIA and Health Canada have procedures in place to change or revoke an authorization for safety reasons.

 

Genetic modification is recognized, in Canada and around the world, as a safe, effective, and more environmentally-friendly production method. Nearly 70% of processed foods sold in Canada already contain genetically modified ingredients (the most common processed ingredients are canola, corn, and soy). The use of genetically modified plants that are more tolerant to herbicides has helped improve soil health and even helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since this reduces the number of tractor passes needed in the field and means better carbon sequestration in the soil.

 

In Canada, mandatory labelling is used to inform consumers of significant nutritional or compositional changes to foods when there is a health and safety concern that can be mitigated through labelling (such as priority allergens). Any food that presents a health or safety concern, whether genetically modified or not, already requires appropriate labelling. Making it mandatory to list genetically modified ingredients could be seen as a warning that the safety of the food is unknown.

 

Voluntary labelling is the primary means of communication between industry and consumers for non-health and safety related information. Industry has the responsibility to respond to consumers’ information needs. Companies can label GM foods using the national standard designed to ensure label information is clear and not misleading.

 

As such, I feel this legislation is currently unnecessary, and I will not be voting in favour of Bill C-291.

Andy Fillmore

***

April 28, 2017

Dear Mr. Fillmore,

 

Your response does not address the fact that for 20 years, all the major polls have shown over 80% of Canadians want to have the right to choose whether their food is genetically engineered or not. This is a democratic right exercised in 64 countries around the world. If you believe in information, transparency, and democracy, you should recognize that the right to know what is in our food and make an informed choice about what we eat is the cornerstone of a healthy society and democracy.

 

Further, your claim that Canada has a "science-based" regulatory system has been repudiated by Canada's top scientific body in 2001, see Royal Society of Canada's Expert Panel report:  Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada. Very little has changed since their 2001 report and only 2 out of their 53 recommendations have been implemented. Health Canada does claim to have a science-based regulatory system, but the truth is that GMO approvals are based exclusively on industry studies that are not peer-reviewed. Any scientist will tell you that a non peer-reviewed study is not valid science. The Royal Society's Expert Panel's own co-chair has stated that it is outright false to claim that Canada has a science-based regulatory system.

 

To claim that genetic modification leads to more environmentally-friendly farming is also false. Overall pesticide use and sales have gone up drastically as a direct result of herbicide-tolerant crops which constitute 80% of GMOs. GMOs have encouraged mono-cropping, increased herbicide use, and have in many cases harmed soil health. Roundup herbicide sales have gone up 130% since the introduction of GMOs and Roundup residues are now found in 30% of our foods. Before making such sweeping, unmerited claims, I would urge you to read in full the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network's report on the GM crops' impact on the environment: https://gmoinquiry.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Are-GM-crops-better-for-the-environment_-E-web.pdf as well as the Soil Association's report of glyphosate impacts on soil health https://www.soilassociation.org/media/7202/glyphosate-and-soil-health-full-report.pdf which concludes by stating: "Research indicates potential impacts of glyphosate in increasing crop diseases, changing the composition and functioning of soil micro-organism species and ecosystems, and recently published studies are showing a negative impact on earthworms. Scientists working in this field are calling for future research to be carried out which is urgent given the widespread and heavy use of glyphosate worldwide". In 2015, The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen.

 

Finally, claiming that the current GMO voluntary labelling system in place is effective is plain laughable since not one single company has ever voluntarily labeled a GMO-containing product in Canada. Obviously, there is no incentive for them to do so. Voluntary labelling simply does not work and has done precisely zero to provide information to the Canadian consumer.

 

GMO labelling exists in 64 countries around the world, not as a warning sign, but as a transparent way to provide basic information that the consumer has repeatedly indicated it wants. To boil it down to a safety issue is not respectful to the myriad of reasons for which an individual may chose to avoid GMOs. For instance, if your religion prohibits you from eating pork and an organism has been engineered to contain a pig gene, it is your right to know and make a choice based on information. Canadians deserve information, transparency, democracy. It is appalling that an MP so closely tied to the well-being of our democratic institutions would disagree with that.

 

I would appreciate your reply and attention to these specific points I have outlined.

 

Many thanks,

Aube

***

Mr. Fillmore never replied. I requested a meeting with him or a member of his team and never heard back. I also repeatedly requested a meeting with my own MP, Scott Brison, and never heard back from his office. Now that the film is complete, I hope to find a way to get every MP in Canada to watch it. If you would like to help in this venture, please contact me!