INFACT and Greenpeace demand Loblaws remove infant foods with GE ingredients




    LOBLAWS, CANADA’S LARGEST GROCER, manufactures and sells genetically engineered (GE) baby food, but refuses to have the GE ingredients removed or labelled. Nestlé, MeadJohnson and Ross Laboratories products were named in a survey as either confirming that their products were made with GE ingredients, refusing to make a commitment to remove them, or simply not knowing if they’re selling infant formulas with GE ingredients.


     In statements read to the press at the October 29 action against GE food at the Harbourfront Loblaws store in Toronto, INFACT and Greenpeace noted that various authorities have raised concerns about the safety of feeding infants with foods containing GE ingredients.


    “Bottle fed infants for the first six months rely exclusively on infant formula as their sole source of food during a critical growth and development stage,” noted Elisabeth Sterken, director of INFACT Canada.


    “Parents expect Loblaws to be selling baby food that is safe,” said Holly Penfound, GE campaign coordinator for Greenpeace. “There should be a zero tolerance of GE in baby foods. Loblaws must remove GE ingredients from their baby food and stop selling GE contaminated food from other companies.”


What health risks are infants exposed to?


     The process of genetic engineering is imprecise and random. Inserted genes can disrupt a plant’s natural growth and development; be unstable in their new environment; or function differently than expected. As a result, genetically engineered foods can have unintended effects, with potentially harmful consequences for human health.


    These unintended effects can cause increased allergenicity when foreign proteins are transferred from one species to another.


    Genetic engineering can increase and/or introduce new food toxins.


    Genetic engineering can decrease a food’s nutritional value.


    Genetic engineering may also contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.


    The potential consequences of all these perturbations could be the biosynthesis of molecules that are toxic, allergenic, or carcinogenic.


    Since children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems, if the GM food is given to them without proper testing, they will be the experimental animals.”


  Comments from health authorities


Howard, Vyvyan, toxicological pathologist, Liverpool University Hospital, UK

“Swapping genes between organisms can produce unknown toxic effects and allergies that are most

likely to effect children.”


The Royal Society (UK) Working Group on Genetically Modified Food

“Bottle fed babies could be undernourished if given genetically modified infant formula milk because of inadequate regulations and testing regimes for GE foods.”


Schubert, David professor at the Salk Institute, USA

“…I believe that insufficient attention has been paid to three important issues: first, introduction of the same gene into two different types of cells can produce two very distinct protein molecules; second, the introduction of any gene, whether from a different or the same species, usually significantly changes overall gene expression and therefore the phenotype of the recipient cell; and

third, enzymatic pathways introduced to synthesize small molecules, such as vitamins, could interact with endogenous pathways to produce novel molecules.




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