BRITISH COLUMBIA

Hundreds March Against GM Giant Monsanto In Vancouver

10/12/2013 03:23 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Hundreds of people participated in a march against seed giant Monsanto in downtown Vancouver Saturday.

Protesters say they want to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it.

More than 400 events are taking place Saturday worldwide, according to the "Occupy Monsanto" website.

Anti-Monsanto protests were also held earlier this year in May around the world.

The term "genetically modified" refers to the alteration of genetic material. Specifically, it means the genes of one organism have been "cut out" and then "pasted" into another organism.

Most processed foods in Canada contain at least some genetically modified ingredients. 

Genetically modified plants are often created to resist disease and eliminate the need for pesticides. Desired characteristics, such as a hardier texture, higher nutritional value or faster growth, are chosen to produce a kind of "super food."

However, genetically modified ingredients have been the source of much public debate regarding their necessity and safety.

In Canada, companies are not required to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients, but in the European Union there have been regulations requiring such labels for more than a decade.

Monsanto Co., based in St. Louis, Missouri, said Saturday that it respects people's rights to express their opinion on the topic, but maintains that its seeds improve agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving resources such as water and energy.

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