NEWSBITES: July 2015

WHO classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”

The world’s most widely used pesticide, glyphosate (commonly sold as Roundup), has been under the microscope lately. The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization released a report in March classifying it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Not surprisingly, the manufacturer, Monsanto, contests the finding. Findings from the two-page summary of the IARC’s study on glyphosate and four other organophosphates were published in theLancet and can be found on the IARC’s website at www.iarc.fr/

Here in Canada, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) released its own report shining a light on “Where in the world” biotech crops are sown as part of its 2015 Inquiry into GE crops, 20 years since the Canadian government approved the first genetically modified crops in our country. Since “roundup ready” crops dominate the global acreage of genetically engineered crops, the CBAN report helps to highlight the scope and locus of the problem.

More information on glyphosate can be found on the Pesticide Action Network’s website, www.panna.org, which also has a handy online, mobile app to check the pesticide load and implications for the food you may be eating.

Federal government should invest $1 billion in children’s nutrition

The Coalition for Healthy School Food, made up of more than 20 organizations across Canada, is asking the federal government to invest one billion dollars in a Universal Healthy School Food Program to ensure all students can eat healthy food at school everyday.

About one-quarter of children’s calories are from food products not recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and only about one-third of children eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily. “The federal government should invest in a universal school food program to ensure that children establish healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime,” says Diana Bronson, executive director of Food Secure Canada (FSC). “We shall be looking at the platforms of all political parties in the upcoming election to ensure that a minimum of $250 million is earmarked for the program in their first year in office, to be gradually scaled up to a billion dollars.”

Investing in a universal school food program would eventually reduce the financial burden on our healthcare system by reducing risks of diet-related chronic diseases and mental illness. “Canada is one of the only industrialized countries that does not invest in its children this way and it’s time they stepped up to the plate,” according to Bronson.

A growing body of research demonstrates the potential of school food programs to improve food choices, support academic achievement for all students as well as contribute to students’ physical and mental health. “Almost 90 per cent of the schools In Newfoundland and Labrador have a Kids Eat Smart Breakfast Club that provides healthy and nutritious food in an inclusive environment… All children in Canada should receive the same opportunity,” says Celina Stoyles, executive director of Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Food Secure Canada. FSC is a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty through three inter-locking goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food and sustainable food systems. www.foodsecurecanada.org

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