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TORONTO - Greenpeace Canada led a demonstration on Monday at a Loblaw Cos. superstore for failing to support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, Reuters reported. The protest included a 30-square-meter banner urging Loblaw and Health Minister Allan Rock to put "Labels on GE Food Now."
Canada's Parliament recently defeated a bill to support mandatory labeling, prompting Greenpeace campaigner Pat Venditti to say that grocers, the biotech industry and the government "seem to be in bed together," according to Reuters.
"They are taking a stick-your-head-in-the-sand approach, waiting till this all goes away. They do not have any justification for not labeling," Venditti told Reuters.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Rock said the health minister supports labeling despite the defeat of the mandatory labeling bill in Parliament. She added that the country's health committee would now be the proper channel to review the case.
Loblaw spokesman Geoffrey Wilson told Reuters the Canadian government has no standard yet for defining which foods are genetically modified. Loblaw and several other Canadian grocers told suppliers earlier this year to discontinue such claims on their labels.
"The whole agricultural food chain cannot readily segregate foods to an appropriate extent that would allow labeling at this point in time," Wilson told Reuters.
"Our position is that our government determines what food goes on our shelves, and we certainly abide by those rules."
Venditti says a recent Greenpeace survey found that 95 percent of Canadians want mandatory labeling.