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Quebec Brewery Wins Right to Label Its Beer GE-Free

by Suds Sunday, Jul. 22, 2001 at 2:58 PM

Looking to our Northern Neighbor for a bit of sanity.

Quebec microbrewery can say its beer has no genetically modified organisms

MONTREAL (CP) - A small Quebec brewery has won a court battle with a

federal government agency over its right to say its beer contains no genetically

modified organisms.

Unibroue, based in Chambly, Que., obtained a certificate a year ago from the

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, classifying its beers as GMO-free. The

classification was intended to help the firm's European exports.

When Unibroue decided to use the certificate to boost its beers in Quebec,

the food inspection agency contended the claim broke food and drug laws. It

withdrew its approval and sought a court injunction against further use of

the certificate.

The injunction request was denied by Justice Pierre Viau of Quebec Superior


Paul Arnott, Unibroue's master brewer, said Wednesday the firm is happy that

Viau quickly turned down the agency's demand.

He noted Viau didn't even require Unibroue's lawyers to present any

arguments at the court hearing Tuesday. The judge listened to the federal

government side, then gave his ruling.

"Obviously for us it's important because it means we're going to save money.

If we had to remove all the posters, we were looking at 0,000 to

0,000," Arnott said.

Arnott said future promotional campaigns relating to the beers' GMO-free

nature won't make any mention of the agency.

But he said the claim is true and Unibroue "may have to pay privately to

have that certified through an official organization."

The firm will let its current promotion continue for a normal life-span and

when it's over, "the posters will be removed."

Arnott said he hopes the agency will be content with this approach.

Ottawa has yet to establish a labelling standard for genetically modified


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