Coun. Mike Cave weighs in on GMOs

Councillor Mike Cave has brought forward a GMO resolution.

Councillor Mike Cave has brought forward a resolution which, if passed, would see genetically modified organisms (GMOs) required on foods labels in British Columbia.

GMOs refer to a wide range of organisms which are modified through the use of genetic engineering.

These include bacteria, insects, fish, mammals and plants, some of which make their way into the food we eat.

Food producers are not required to label their products specifically if it includes GMOs, something Cave would like to see changed.

“I’m not against these products being sold,” Cave explained.

“I just think producers should have to be up front about the methods they use.”

Organisms have been genetically modified since the discovery of DNA and Paul Berg’s creation of recombinant DNA in 1972.

Genetically modifying organisms have brought many possibilities to biologists, who are able to take genes from one organism and attach it to genes of another for research purposes.

GMOs have also led to many advances in the medical field in medicines and gene therapy treatment.

GMO labelling has made news around the world, including bills being introduced in many  U.S. states.

Recently, lawmakers in Colorado voted against mandatory GMO labelling, while a bill was passed in Hawaii requiring GMO labelling on produce imported from outside the state.

Coun. Cave thinks his resolution will be well-received, seeing as more and more Canadians are becoming aware of GMOs.

“My personal experience suggest huge support for initiatives of this sort,” Cave said.

“Polls have shown 80 per cent of Canadians support mandatory labelling.”

Cave’s proposed resolution, which reads “Whereas, currently in British Columbia, food producers are not obligated to disclose whether their products contain genetically modified organisms, and whereas the long term effects of GMOs is still unknown,” will be debated for the first time in May, during the North Central Local Government Association convention in Quesnel.

If successful, it will then be up for debate at the UBCM convention in September to be held in Vancouver.

“This resolution is more directed toward B.C. as a whole, rather than just benefitting Quesnel,” Cave explained.

“One potential benefit for Quesnel is local companies who use natural methods of production will likely see more income from the community and people looking for local non-GMO products.

“That is something I could support,” he said.

Cave added non-GMO products are already doing well, especially as there have been several food recalls recently.

“With the recent food scares in all types of operations, people are really starting to care as well as take notice of where their food comes from and how it is produced,” he said.

“Look at how popular farmers markets are in many communities.”

Cave thinks labelling is important, since we still don’t know the long term effects of GMOs.

“Look at how long it took for trans fats to be recognized as dangerous,’” he said.

“More time and testing is needed before we know the full effects. For us to lack mandatory labelling seems completely backwards.’

To show there is public interest in the matter,  a Facebook page was created, I Support Mandatory GMO Labelling in BC, which, at press time, has 29 “likes”.

Cave is hoping to gather as many “likes” as possible on the page to show public support.

Visit the Facebook group page for information and to share ideas about GMO labelling.

Check the Observer for updates.


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