GE concerns surface in Coldstream

Coldstream is being urged to harvest a future free of genetically engineered crops

Coldstream is being urged to harvest a future free of genetically engineered crops.

Bee Safe representative Huguette Allen shared concerns about GE (or GM – genetically modified) crops with Coldstream council Monday.

“There is already a lot of roundup ready corn that is grown,” said Allen. “Whenever and whereever GM crops are grown, contamination follows.”

She insists that this is contaminating streams, which flow into Kalamalka Lake – a local water source.

“No water treatment plant can remove pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural pollutants.”

The insecticide load on water, air and soil is why many communities are declaring themselves GM free, says Allen who urges Coldstream to do the same.

“Coldstream could now take a clear stand against GM crops. Take a stand against the planting of new GM crops.

“I would urge you to consider this not only very important but urgent.”

Coldstream will discuss the issue at a future committee of the whole meeting.

But in the meantime, one local group of farmers is already dedicated to the effort.

“Our mandate now includes our members to be Bee SAFE and GM free,” said Anita Fletcher, organizer of the Coldstream Farmers Market.

Bee Safe co-founder Carla Vierke was inspired to start the group after she discovered that a farmer next to her was growing GM crops.

“There’s no regulatory body to let people know when a farmer decides to grow GM crops next to you,” said Vierke. “So as an organic grower to me that’s a huge issue.”

But the larger issue is consumers not knowing if their food comes from GE crops, says Coldstream Coun. Richard Enns.

“I’d like to have the products labelled so then I can make my own decisions,” said Enns.

There are currently no government regulations for labelling, therefore Enns says that is one area Coldstream can try to make a difference.

“One of the things the district can certainly do is to write to the senior levels of government and ask them to implement labelling.”