Volume 93, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 29, 2000


NEWS

Computers stolen from SSC offices

Research gets $18.5M boost

Western student still missing

Alcohol consumptions leads to - less sex?

Multiple arrests made at T.O. rave

Biotechnological food explained in magazine

Settlers have hard time finding jobs

Briefs

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Biotechnological food explained in magazine



By Tola Afolabi and Marcy Cabral
Gazette Staff

A government biotechnological enlightenment campaign is being criticized as politically and commercially motivated.

The federal government has authorized a paid supplement to explain regulations for biotechnological products or genetically modified foods, said Margaret Kenny a spokesperson for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The eight page supplement, scheduled for print this summer in Canadian Living magazine and its French version, Coup de Pouce, was sponsored by the agency and will cost $150,000, Kenny said.

She added the agency decided to create the supplement after consulting with organizations and individuals involved in biotechnology.

"We have carried out a lot of consultations in the federal government and what people are telling us is that they want more information on biotechnology," she said, adding Canadian Living was chosen because of its large readership.

She added the supplement would not display a disclaimer, but instead, a notice stating the agency had sponsored the advertisements to avoid confusion with a journalistic article.

Olga Goncalves, assistant to the publisher of Canadian Living, said she would not comment on the supplement.

Ken Rubin, a public-interest researcher in Ottawa, said he did not approve of the project.

"I'd like to have taxpayer's money spent in a more transparent and objective manner," he said,

"[The supplements] are politically and commercially motivated information," he added, explaining he believed the ad would be more persuasive than informative.

Rubin added other groups against the use of biotechnology have different information than what was provided by the government, but may not have enough resources to publish their information.

Kenny said she disagreed. "We're not talking about being pro biotechnology or against biotechnology – this is just to let the Canadians know what the government is doing to regulate these products," she said.

Greg Gloor, associate professor of biochemistry at Western, said care must be taken with the subject of biotechnology.

"I think the real issue is that these things should be evaluated on a case by case basis. I haven't seen that rigorously happening yet," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000