Dear Minister Ritz:
I write today to bring to your attention concerns which are being expressed by Fred Danenhower, of the Similkameen Okanagan Organic Treefruit Growers Association (SOOTGA), in a submission to the CFIA, regarding the request for approval of the sale/distribution of the genetically modified (GM) Arctic tree/apple.
While I will not reiterate all the issues he has raised, SOOTGA is mainly concerned that the Arctic Apple, if commercialized, will inevitably lead to cross pollination with neighbouring orchards. Mr. Danenhower makes it very clear in his submission how this would have a catastrophic impact on organic and conventional growers, the local economy as well as the integrity of the B.C. brand.
Amidst the growing demand for organic food and the ongoing farm crisis certified organic farmers as well as conventional farmers should be supported rather than left to live under the constant threat of losing crops to contamination from genetically engineered plants. The one-sided regulations which govern this science continue to be stacked in favour of the biotech industrialists and against farmers who prefer to service the lucrative non-GMO market.
Tree fruit growers in B.C. and across Canada are counting on you to ensure that any threat from Arctic Apple to their industry is removed once and for all. I trust you will not disappoint them.
Alex Atamanenko, M.P.
B.C. Southern Interior