"The B.C. government spends more than twice as much in medical costs - as much as $1.8 billion annually - on people who are inactive, overweight and smoke than it does on those who exercise, don't smoke and aren't overweight." That was how The Vancouver Sun played provincial health officer Perry Kendall's recently released annual report on its front page last Thursday. But that wasn't the only food for thought in the report. Mr. Kendall is also calling on the government to take a precautionary approach when it comes to regulating frankenfoods.
The report notes "there is still much that we do not know about potential long-term impacts of genetically modified food on human health." As a result, Mr. Kendall recommends "labelling should be provided on all genetically modified foods to allow for consumer's choice" - even though "those in favour of genetically modified organisms say labels might deter uninformed people from buying healthy and safe food."
But that recommendation might not receive a welcome reception from the Campbell administration. Prior to the 2001 election, the Dosanjh government introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Labelling Act - legislation the Liberals failed to bring back to the house when they won office. Mr. Kendall is also suggesting the government "endorse the Royal Society of Canada's recommendations on genetically modified foods."