March 17, 2001
Expert Panel on the Future of Food Biotechnology
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to you now on behalf of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment to offer our congratulations on your recent report on biotechnology and genetically engineered (GE) food crops in Canada.
We particularly commend you for the strong stand taken in identifying the undesireably close relationship between the corporate sector and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as well as the latter's inherent conflict of interest as both food sales promoter and food safety watchdog.
Our organization, consisting primarily of medical practititioners, biological scientists, and allied health professionals, feels strongly that field trials of GE food crops in Canada and world-wide, and the pending release of GE insect species planned for July/01 in the US, have been carried out without the complete testing and detailed analysis necessary for identifying and mitigating long-term ecological and human health impacts. We advocate a moratorium on such releases until such studies are carried out.
While the Panel has not taken as forceful a stand on this aspect of the issue, we believe it has made a very valuable contribution to the discussions around GE food crops. In particular, it has courageously drawn attention to the policy and political aspects of GE, and made strong recommendations in this area.
We are grateful for the legitimacy your Panel has given to the concerns of those deeply concerned about the impact of GE technology, and the way that technology has been implemented to date. We hope that the Panel will follow these matters and comment further as appropriate.
Warren Bell MD
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