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BioFoods Explained

The transgenic industry particularly as it relates to GMO food has led to one of the most persistent debates about mandatory labelling. How can consumers make a conscious choice if they can’t understand the components that are in the food they are about to purchase or how these mysterious ingredients may affect your health or the health of your family.

Bt Toxins

Bt toxin is produced by Bacillus thuringiensis in an inactive form (protoxin), which is transformed to its active form (delta-endotoxin) in the guts of certain insects. The active toxin binds to receptors in the gut, killing the insect. There are different forms of Bt toxin that are specifically active against certain groups of insects.

Transgenics or Genetic Engineering

Transgenics is all about genetic engineering. It refers to a collection of techniques used to isolate genes from one species and transfer them to another. The result is a new life form whose altered genetic material expresses a particular characteristic that originated from the 'donor' species. Often referred to as recombinant DNA technology, the resulting organism is said to be "genetically modified,"(GM) "genetically engineered,"(GE) or "transgenic." GM products include medicines and vaccines, foods and food ingredients, feeds, and fibers.


Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. It is a post emergent herbicide that is non-selective. Meaning it will kill all green plants that you apply it to including grass, broad leaf weeds and some woody plants.

Additives in Animal Feed in Canada

Six different additives are used in medicated feed for cattle in Canada.

Three of those — lasalocid sodium, salinomycin sodium and monensin sodium — are antimicrobial drugs that fall into the category of drugs that have no therapeutic use for humans, says the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Chlortetracycline hydrochloride is antimicrobial closely related to tetracyclines, which are antibiotics used in human medicine, but for which there are alternatives according to the Research Council.

Modified Atmospheric Packaging(MAP)

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) involves controlling or modifying the atmosphere surrounding the product to slow spoilage by coating the food with an ‘edible film’ to increase shelf life.

These types of coatings present several potential health hazards, the most severe of which is the potential to promote the growth of food borne pathogens if misapplied. Essentially, by spraying a substance on the fresh produce, which forms a thin film, oxygen levels can be limited, which slows down the ripening process.


Carbendazim is a fungicide of major concern. It is suspected that the chemical has hormone disrupting effects. It has been highlighted by Friends of the Earth as one of their ‘filthy four’ pesticides as it could be harmful to human health and the environment.

Developed by chemical giants, BASF (now part of Bayer) and Dupont, carbendazim is used to control a broad range of diseases on arable crops which include cereals, oilseed rape, fruits, vegetables and ornamentals. The global market is worth over $200 million at user level -- equivalent to over 12,000 tones of active ingredient.

Salmonella Bacteria

Salmonella is closely related to the Escherichia genus and are found worldwide in cold- and warm-blooded animals (including humans), and in the environment. They cause illnesses like typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and foodborne illness.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness.

Gluphosinate Ammonium

Glufosinate-ammonium is a broad-spectrum herbicide, in use in relatively small quantities since the 1980s. Its use is being increased by the recent development of a more than 100 varieties of transgenic plants, genetically modified to be tolerant of it.

It carries unacceptable risks to humans, especially the neurological development of the foetus, to agricultural biodiversity, and to the environment.

Canadian GE BioFoods

GE Crops Canada
It's been 15 years since genetically engineered biocrops and biofoods were first introduced into Canada without public debate. Today, over half of Canada’s corn and soy is genetically engineered(GE). The majority of canola grown in Canada is GE. The vast majority of GE biocrops are in used in processed food as ingredients such as corn starch, soy lecithin and canola oil. There is no law requiring the labelling of GE ingredients.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Most of us would be surprised to learn that the majority of sweeteners used in processed food comes from corn, not sugar cane or beets. Developed in the 1970s, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has the same sweetness and taste as an equal amount of sucrose from cane or beet sugar but it's considerably cheaper to make than sugar.