Teen activist Rachel Parent has challenged Health Minister Rona Ambrose to a debate on genetically-modified foods.
During the March Against Monsanto rally at Toronto's Queen's Park in early October, Parent invited Ambrose to talk about launching independent government studies on the safety of GMOs and mandatory labeling.legislation.
Parent, who blogs for HuffPost Canada, became a viral sensation earlier this year after she faced off with Kevin O'Leary in a GMOs debate on CBC TV. She scored that appearance using the same strategy she employing with Ambrose, a public speech followed by a posting on YouTube and promotion on social media.
The 14-year-old firebrand told HuffPost she was inspired to release the challenge to Ambrose online after the Health minister's Facebook account posted a statement about the Conservative government's commitment to food safety.
“Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canadians have confidence in the food they buy and eat. Knowing that food is healthy and safe to eat is fundamentally important to all Canadians and their families."
Ambrose was referring to new government initiatives aimed at making it easier for Canadians to get information about food recalls.
The proposed debate would also include former Agriculture Canada biologist Dr. Thierry Vrain, a prominent critic of the genetic modifications in agriculture.
Parent wants mandatory labeling legislation that would force food companies to disclose the use of GMOs in their products. GMOs are not subject to mandatory labels in Canada and the U.S., but are in much of Europe, New Zealand, Australia and even China.
Labels for GMOs are the subject of fierce debate. Proponents contend that little research has been done on the long-term health effects of eating GMOs and that most studies are conducted by the very companies that stand to profit from them. Critics argue that humans have been modifying the DNA of food since the dawn of civilization and that labels would only serve to create false hysteria that could negatively affect our capacity to feed Earth's growing population in the decades to come.
Do you think Ambrose should take on Parent and Vrain? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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