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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Gov'ment GE Forum Tuesday at Museum of Nature

CFIA is holding a Public Forum
to solicit the public’s views on "plant molecular farming"
7:00-10:00 pm in the auditorium of the Museum of Nature
Tuesday, 30 October, 2001


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is holding a Public Forum on Tuesday
evening, 30 October, 2001, in Ottawa, to solicit the public’s views on "plant
molecular farming" (a.k.a Genetic Engineering, Frankenfoods, Genetically
Modified Organisms, etc).

"Plant molecular farming uses the science of genetic engineering to produce
substances for scientific, medical or industrial use. Some potential products of
molecular farming are antigens for vaccines that can be mass produced in plants
and used to respond to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, rabies, foot and mouth
disease and THE COMMON COLD.

"Plant molecular farming is still at the experimental stage and currently there
are no plants for molecular farming approved for commercial release in Canada.

"The forum will be overseen by a moderator and will include short presentations
given by selected panelists. The presentations will be followed by questions and
comments from the audience. Panelists are being invited to present a variety of
points of view, including those of industry, producers, the academic/scientific
community, and environmental groups.

"Presentations and discussion will begin at 7:00 P.M. in the auditorium of the
Museum of Nature in Ottawa. Following this, refreshments will be served in the
museum atrium, and panelists and audience members will have the opportunity to
interact more informally."

                   The Issue:

"The CFIA, which is responsible for regulating plants with novel traits,
recognizes that plant molecular farming poses a number of regulatory challenges.
The Agency is conferring with a wide range of people now, while products of
molecular farming are still years away from the marketplace.

"The Public Forum will provide people with an opportunity to learn about
molecular farming and express their views and concerns about the regulation of
plants used in molecular farming in Canada. The CFIA intends to take into
account all stakeholders’ input when drafting new guidelines that are
anticipated to be in place by spring 2002.

"Following the Public Forum, a three-day technical consultation meeting will be
held in Ottawa, including representatives from academia, government, industry,
provinces and non-governmental organizations interested in health and the
environment. The consultation is intended to assist in the development of
guidelines specifically related to plant molecular farming. This consultation
will also address regulatory procedures for Health Canada to participate in the
risk assessments."

                                                                     - 30 -

For more information on the Public Forum, please contact:
John Bowman, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Office of Biotechnology (Ottawa),
tel. 613-225-2342, ext. 4553 or visit the CFIA’s Web site at:

                    Media enquiries:

English:  Stephen Yarrow
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Plant Biosafety Office
Tel. (613) 225-2342, ext. 4390

French:  Louise LaferriËre
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Biotechnology
Tel. (613) 225-2342, ext. 4328

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