News / Vancouver

B.C. municipalities vote to ban genetically engineered plants and food

Organic-food lovers scored a win at the expense of massive agriculture corporations – and perhaps B.C. farmers – at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference on Thursday.

Local government representatives voted to ask the province to ban genetically engineered plants and animals from being imported, exported, grown or raised in B.C.

They also want the province to craft legislation declaring B.C. “GE Free,” a stance that’s already been adopted by the European Union.

A Fuji apple farmer from the Okanagan threw his support behind the ban. It’s hard to impossible to export tree fruit if they’ve been exposed to genetically modified material, he said, especially since more and more countries want to ban the material.

A Richmond cattle rancher also supported the ban, stating it’s harder to sell his alfalfa-fed cattle to processors in Alberta if the plants are genetically engineered.

But the decision was far from unanimous.

Municipalities simply don’t have the knowledge to make such a decision without consulting farmers, a representative from Squamish said.

A Vancouver Island chicken producer said it simply isn’t possible to feed the world’s people without applying science to food.

Others proposed better labeling of food instead of an outright ban, which they suggested would hurt trade and the farmers.

A North Okanagan representative noted that GE material is used for insulin for diabetics, and suggested the ban could harm their treatment.

More on