April 25, 2014 2:14 pm

Lecture tour on hazards of genetically engineered foods kicks off in Halifax

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HALIFAX – A retired genetic engineer kicked off a Maritime tour Thursday night in Halifax that’s hoping to draw more attention to the possible dangers of genetically modified foods.

Thierry Vrain worked at Agriculture Canada for 30 years, and now he’s lecturing across Canada on the hazards of eating genetically engineered foods treated by a herbicide.

“The reality of genetic engineering is that all the crops that are engineered are engineered to survive the spraying of the herbicide roundup,” he said.

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A chemical in roundup called Glyphosate was invented in 1964 as a pipe cleaner. Five years later it was found to kill weeds, like dandelions.

“In 1969 it was found that it does kill bacteria and plants,” Vrain said. “That’s when Monsanto came on the scene, acquired the patent and marketed it as a herbicide.”

By 1996, it was introduced into the food chain as a herbicide for genetically engineered crops.

“You have corn and soybean and canola and cotton and sugar — all the sugar is sprayed with roundup,” Vrain said.

As the spraying increased, so did many diseases — intestinal infections, diabetes and obesity, according to Vrain.

Lil MacPherson, who owns the Wooden Monkey restaurant in Halifax, helped arrange the tour and has a vested interest food that is free of glyphosate.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business the last 30 years and I have never in my life seen so many sick people coming in the restaurant — Crohn’s. colitis, celiac — all leaky gut syndromes [and] allergies that we’ve never even heard of.”

Sixty-four countries will not allow genetically engineered food, but Canada and the United States have no rules and aren’t obliged to tell people if a product is genetically engineered.

Some at the lecture appeared alarmed when Vrain talked of other products like meat.

“The animals are fed engineered grain sprayed with the herbicide. Same thing with all the dairy,” he said. “It’s a good reason to eat more vegetables and fruit. Vegetables and fruit are not engineered. I’m sure some of them are sprayed with the herbicide, but they’re not engineered.”

Vrain is asking people to speak out. He will lecture again on Friday night in Mahone Bay, followed by stops in Wolfville, Tatamagouche and Antigonish. When he leaves Nova Scotia, he’ll stop in Stratford, P.E.I. for two dates and finish up May 2 in Fredericton.


© Shaw Media, 2014

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