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Former Health Canada scientist blasts government for five dangerous food production practices

January 27, 2014 Joel Boyce, The Windsor Star

A former Health Canada scientist who now speaks out against his former employer said Sunday that Windsor is the perfect place to start growing healthy food for the future generation.

Dr. Shiv Chopra, who worked for Health Canada for 25 years, told more than 100 people gathered at the Unifor Local 444/200 hall there are five dangerous food production practices in Canada and advised them how to lessen the damaging health effects. “What I want to see now is action,” Chopra said. “Canadian food has been very toxic over the years.”

The author of the book Corrupt to the Core became disheartened with the influence big industries were gaining over the offices he worked for. His goal, he said, is to expose food production practices approved here in Canada, which for reasons of public health – and animal welfare – are banned in all of Europe.

“Why are they letting this happening to Canada, one of the most beautiful countries in the world?” he asked. “Health Canada supplements a law but they’re breaking a law. There needs to be awareness and an investigation.” He said his mission is to start with the public and create knowledge on the five dangerous food production practices.

The use of hormones and antibiotics in animals, how slaughterhouse waste is handled, the use of  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the use of pesticides on crops, are damaging our food and health, Chopra said.

How the European Union has tackled these issues – largely banning their use – is a model Canadians can look to, he said. “Why are we doing this to our Canadian people?” he asked.

Chopra said Canadian citizens will have to do something on their own because complaining to the government – which he referred to as “our parents” – has not brought results.

“This is an important message to get out,” said John Jones, member and organizer for GMO Free Windsor-Essex. Jones said he wants the people in attendance to walk away with hope for a healthy future.

With the decline of manufacturing jobs in the city, Chopra said Windsor has different alternatives for creating new jobs. “This town offers that kind of model other cities could follow,” Chopra said, citing the abundance of rich farmland  in Essex County.

Steve Green, general manager for the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market, listed the actions people can take to make their food safer. People should start growing food, anything from lettuce to a tomato plant. No matter how small, it is a start, he said. If people can’t grow food, then buy from local farmers.

Green wants people to be more involved in the food industry. If someone is making changes and buys local produce, other people will see that and maybe follow in that person’s footsteps, Green said.

Most importantly, Green wants people to get political and speak out against government initiatives that are ruining the land and compromise families’ health. “This is the kind of society we should be building and we are equipped to do that,” Chopra said.

Green said “it’s too easy not to do something.” “You are the people that need to start this food revolution.” Chopra will be speaking at two more area locations Monday,  from 1 to 3 p.m. at Coopers Hawk Vineyards, 1425 Iler Rd. in Harrow, and from 7  to 9 p.m. at the Caboto Club.

July 2017 Health Canada has recently released the set of principles it intends to adhere to for our next food guide. We support the recommended revisions to Canada’s Food Guide that emphasize eating fresh whole foods and limiting or eliminating meat, egg, and dairy products, as these products have been linked to disease epidemics and environmental destruction.

Consultation on the revision of Canada's Food Guide (Phase 2) is open until August 31st.  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-canada-food-guide.html