get active – petition to label gm foods: our right to know

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2011-01-19 11:46

You can urge the government to meaningfully label all genetically-modified (GM) foods by signing this petition , launched by ACB (African Centre for Biosafety), and SAFeAGE via Activist.

It was way back in 2008 that the government announced that GM food would 'soon' be labelled. but according to the two watch dogs, the latest draft regulations on GM food published by the DTI (department of trade and industry) 'fails to protect the citizens' freedom of choice of what they eat'...

ACB and SAFeAGE argue that the regulations will only apply to 3 GM food types – maize, soyabean and imported canola oil. They will exclude all the new approvals of GMOs, like the GM potato and GM salmon that may well come onto the SA market.

Companies can opt NOT to label products with GM ingredients at all if the GM content is less than 5% - both misleading and against our 'right to know' as consumers just what it is that we eat.

Both groups are arguing that the regulations, instead of helping the consumer, have created a loophole where companies can avoid labelling and rely instead on the more ambiguous label 'may contain GM' (either it does or it doesn't!)

Join the 'Label GM Food: Our Right To Know' campaign and call for effective and meangful labelling – you have until 31 January 2011 to raise your objections.

Genetically Modified (GM) food is produced artificially by a technological process (known as genetic engineering). Genes are taken from unrelated species such as viruses or bacteria and inserted into food crops. The major GM crops grown world-wide are maize, soybean, canola and cotton. All of these contain genes that make them resistant to either insect pests, or tolerant to chemical herbicides (some newer GM crops now contain more than one inserted gene, and are both insect resistant and herbicide tolerant – this is known as ‘gene-stacking’). These GM crops are either eaten directly by humans, used as animal feed, or used as ingredients in processed foods.

GM companies in South Africa
Three of the world’s largest GM companies have operations in South Africa, namely: Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred (a subsidiary of DuPont) and Syngenta. By its own account Monsanto controlled 50% of the South African maize market in 2009. South Africa’s largest seed company, Pannar Seed, sells several GM seed varieties under license from Monsanto. Pannar was recently subject to a take-over bid by Pioneer Hi-Bred.

GM crops grown in SA
The major GM crops currently grown in South Africa are GM maize, soybean and cotton. South Africa is currently the only country in the world that grows a GM staple food, namely GM maize. Last year nearly 60% of all maize seed sold in the country was a GM variety. In 2009 an application was made to introduce a GM potato, which would have been another unenviable world first. Research is also ongoing, at various different stages, into GM sugarcane, grapes, cassava and sorghum.

Read further about GM here

GM corn research shows liver, kidney toxicity

Seven deadly myths of industrial agriculture

10 reasons why GM won't feed the world

The unhealthy truth: how our food is making us sick

or visit SAFeAGE or ACB