GM Labelling

GM Labelling

Industry employing bullying tactics to scupper GM food labelling in South Africa

GM-Labeling-zebraThe Biotech industry continues to stall the implementation of a GMO labelling regime, claiming that only a “lunatic fringe” or a “European funded lobby” want it, despite government’s clear intentions in the Consumer Protection Act to grant the consumer’s right to know and to choose. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has re-opened the public comment period for submissions on the amended GMO labelling regulations until 15 August 2014. Submissions can be made to

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Open letter to the National Chamber of Milling on GMO labelling and the development of a GM-Free market

In July 2012 the National Chamber of Milling (NCM) posted a ?position on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on its website, in which it supports the principle of consumer choice and pledges to ?encourage identity preservation within the grain supply chain to enable clear labelling of our product to the consumer market?.

However, the biotech industry lobby group AfricaBio, who have lobbied vociferously against the labelling of GM food in South Africa, has also claimed to have ?forged a strategic partnership with the NCM? to engage with government on the GM labelling issues. That being the case, the ACB has written an open letter to the NCM asking for clarification of its relationship with AfricaBio, to push for a stringent and accurate labelling and identity preservation system (including establishing GM free maize and soya chains) and supporting the independent, long term and transparent risk assessment of GMOs in South Africa.

2012 Tests

2013 Tests


100% GM Maize, 37% GM Soya

Purity’s Cream of Maize: 56% GM maize

Purity Baby First: 71% GM maize

Bokomo Wheat free Pronutro:

90% GM maize, 71% GM soya

Ace supermaize meal: 78% GM maize
Ace maize rice: 70% GM maize
Ace instant porridge:

Purity GMO Response

Dear Mariam

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us personally. We value feedback from our customers and concerned members of the public.

Attached please find our response.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Lind
Managing Executive HPCB
C/O Melinda Potgieter
PA to Martin Lind
Tel 011 840-4592


Tiger Brands responds to the ACB following on from our petition – May 2013.

Consumers win GM labelling victory

Consumers in South Africa have won a hard earned victory with regard to the labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods. Yesterday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published draft amendments to the regulations governing the labelling of GM food. According to the draft amendments, all locally produced and imported food containing 5% or more GM ingredients or components must be labelled as “contains genetically modified ingredients or components”. The food industry has to date, taken the view that current GM labelling laws are ambiguous and do not apply to processed food.

Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), congratulated the DTI and praised the huge role played by consumers in demanding their right to know. According to Mayet “the proposed amendments convey the clear intention of government that the food industry must now step up to the plate and label their products.”
However, Mayet expressed disappointment that labelling will only be triggered when there is 5% or more GM content. The 5% threshold is not based on any scientific measure but purely on commercial considerations.

South Africa has been growing GM crops since 1999 and consumers have been largely unaware that their staple food, maize, has

GMOs have made no impact on food security in South Africa in fourteen years. ACB responds to DA position

On the 5th of September 2012 James Wilmot, Democratic Alliance MP and Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, issued a press release claiming that poor consumers cannot benefit from the “cost savings offered by GMOs” because genetically modified (GM) foods cannot be labelled. He claimed that labelling could not be implemented without a testing facility and “without an active testing facility, the SABS cannot ensure the safety of GMOs for consumption by the general public. As a result, the Department’s interim solution has been to ban a number of GMOs until the testing facility is operational.”

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), an organisation that has campaigned rigorously on GMO labelling and related issues over the past decade, claims that James is confused. Ms. Haidee Swanby, Outreach Officer for the ACB said, “It is clear that Mr. James does not understand how GMOs are regulated in this country and has mixed up the functions of the Departments of Trade and Industry and Agriculture. He also does not realise the extent of GMOs in our food system. There is no import ban due to labelling issues; South Africa stopped importing bulk GM shipments from Argentina and Brazil in 2010 when these

GM Labeling in South Africa: The Law Demystified

During March 2012, the ACB revealed that four household food products tested positive for genetically modified organisms. None of these products have been labeled in accordance with the requirements of applicable South African laws. There appears to be a great deal of confusion about what the laws provide.

In this briefing, we outline what the legal position is, with regard to the labeling of GM food in South Africa, as well as the rights of recourse on the part of the South African consumer. The briefing is titled : “GM Labeling in South Africa: The Law Demystified”

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Call on South Africans to Back Labelling of GM Foods

South Africa‘s food shelves are stocked with hundreds of products that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). These are organisms whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

The list includes:

  • maizemeal;
  • GM maize ingredients in processed food that contain corn starch or corn syrup;
  • Gm soya in margarine,cooking and salad oils,tofu and in soya sauce,milk and meat;
  • processed foods, like ice cream, burgers and fish paste;
  • GM cotton seeds used in cooking oil, salad dressings, biscuits and chips.

South Africa‘s Consumer Protection Act (CPA) creates an opportunity for the mandatory labelling of foodstuffs which contain or are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Section 24(4) of the CPA states that the Minister of Trade and Industry can stipulate categories of “prescribed goods” to be labelled under the CPA, these include “anything marketed for human consumption”. The CPA provides for the indication of the presence of GM ingredients in certain foodstuff through appropriate description on the packaging.

These provisions require Regulations to be drafted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). To ensure that our rights are protected we call upon all consumers to write to Mr Andisa Potwana at DTI, to support of

Traceability, segregation and labelling of genetically modified products in South Africa: A Position paper on the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act and mandatory labelling of GM food

South Africa has promulgated national legislation, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which creates an opportunity for the mandatory labelling of certain foodstuffs containing or which are genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The Act sets out a number of consumer rights that have relevance to the sale of products with genetically modified components. These include the right to choose; the right to disclosure and information; the right to fair and honest dealing; and the right to fair value, good quality and safety.

This report considers some of the issues relevant to the effective labelling of products containing GM ingredients in South Africa. Since the CPA only refers to food for human consumption in relation to labelling for GM products, the report narrowly focuses on this. The report starts with the objectives of labelling and the integrity of the labelling system; and what type of labelling could be used. It then considers the value chains for the three GM crops in South Africamaize, soy and cotton – and considers where power lies in each chain. Demand for non-GM products in South Africa is considered next. This is important because, in a market-driven economy, premiums for non-GM products will determine the