Genetic modifications create improvements

GMO crops already in the mainstream, executive says

Re: Metchosin envisions Island-wide GMO ban (News, Jan. 18)

This article failed to provide readers with all views concerning genetically modified (GM) crops and their cultivation.

GM crops are subject to strict regulatory standards, which ensure that Canadians have access to one of the safest food supplies in the world. Extensive safety reviews are completed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to ensure all products of plant biotechnology are safe for people, animals, plants and the environment.

GM crops enjoy a remarkable safety record, having been cultivated for more than a decade in Canada with no environmental safety concerns. Millions of meals containing ingredients from these crops have been consumed, with no reports of allergenicity or other ill effects.

The reality is that humans have been altering the DNA of crops for hundreds of years using plant breeding methods to move genes from one species to another. Modern genetic modification has made it possible to speed up the process and do it more precisely.

When it comes to Canadian farmers, they overwhelmingly choose to grow genetically improved varieties of corn, canola, soybeans and other crops due to the numerous benefits they offer, such as increased yields, improved pest control and environmental sustainability.

Contrary to what was suggested in the article, the widespread cultivation of GM crops has not led to increased or excessive use of chemical weed controls, nor significant interference with farmers that choose to grow non-GM or organic crops.

GM crops are not a safety concern thanks to rigourous regulatory standards, and therefore do not need to be banned.

Lorne Hepworth

president, CropLife Canada