Where's the label? Absence of mandatory GE labelling in Canada equates to involuntary human experiment


What do Haagen-Dazs ice cream, Miracle Whip dressing, and Nabisco wheat thins have in common? According to the Greenpeace Shopper's Guide "How to Avoid Genetically Engineered (GE) Food" (www.greenpeace.ca/shoppersguide), these products and many others are "likely to contain GE or GE-derived ingredients from the most widely grown GE crops, usually corn, soy, canola or cotton."

Since there are no mandatory GE labelling regulations in Canada, consumers cannot really know whether the products they buy contain GE ingredients. Why is it that over 35 other countries require mandatory labelling of GE food, but Canada does not? Yet polls have consistently shown that Canadians want mandatory labelling. This has to change. Biofreedom, a small non-profit group based in Edmonton, is starting a labelling campaign in 2005 and we need your help.


We've created postcards to send to Prime Minister Paul Martin - they are available at Earth's General Store and from Biofreedom directly.
The text of the letter reads as:

Right Honourable Paul Martin
The Prime Minister
House of Commons, Ottawa
Ontario, K1A 0A6

I strongly urge you to adopt legislation that requires mandatory labelling of Genetically Engineered (GE) food. I want to know what is in my food and I want the right to avoid GE ingredients.

Why is it that over 35 other countries require mandatory labelling of GE food, but Canada does not? Yet polls have consistently shown that nearly 90% of Canadians want mandatory labelling. (Decima poll 2003; Leger Marketing poll 2004)

The voluntary labelling standard agreed to in 2004 is not sufficient for me because:

1) The food industry has made it clear that it will not voluntarily label GE food, and
2) This standard would allow food that includes up to 5% Genetically Engineered ingredients to be labelled as GE-free.

A mandatory labelling standard with a 0.5% allowable accidental threshold of GE contamination is now needed to allow all Canadians to make informed decisions. It is our right to informed consent. I call on you to show me and all other Canadians that the Federal Government represents the well-being of everyday citizens, not just big business.

"We are what we eat" and there many reasons why Canadians may not want to eat GE foods - for ethical, health and environmental concerns. Without mandatory labelling of GE ingredients, Canadians are guinea pigs in the biotech industry's experiment.

What is this government doing to ensure my right to know? I would appreciate your reply.


Send in a postcard or copy this letter and send it to the Prime Minister - remember that no postage is required for mail to the House of Commons.

Product labels mail-in:

Biofreedom is organizing a mail-in of product labels to the Minister of Health and here's how you can participate. We would like consumers to save product labels from conventional foods (i.e. non organic). The label can be anything cut out from a cereal box, peeled from a can of tomato soup etc. Essentially, any products with derivatives of soy, canola, corn or cotton may contain GE ingredients.
The purpose of this campaign is to show that the voluntary standards are not working; manufacturers are not labelling their products.
We encourage you to send an envelope of labels from an entire week of grocery attaching a letter asking "How much GE food did I eat this week? Please tell me, no one else will tell me and I have a right to know."
Please continue to send in the labels every week, every month.

You can also drop off the labels at:
Earth's General store; 10832-82 Ave 2nd floor, Edmonton; or at
APIRG at HUB Mall, U of Alberta, Edmonton; or
send them directly to Minister Ujjal Dosanjh at:

The Hon Ujjal Dosanjh
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A OA6 (POSTAGE is FREE)

You could add your own comments such as:

  • This canola oil is not labelled as organic, so I assume it is GE but it is not labelled. Why not?

  • Is the soy oil GE? Is this corn starch GE? Please tell me as there is no label.

If you have any suggestions please contact us [email protected]