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 the following recommendations: That the range of prescribed goods should include the following:

  • All ingredients in packaged food products that are derived from GM crops (whether or not it contains any traces of GM materials);
  • Highly processed products derived from GM ingredients;
  • Additives and flavourings;
  • Meat and animal products fed with GM feed;
  • Food Sold by caterers and restaurants and
  • Unpackaged foods.


  • Labels should apply to all products that are genetically modified.
  • A maximum threshold level of 1% should be permitted to allow for the accidental or technically unavoidable GM content.
  • Products that are produced deliberately and directly using GM processes or have GM content, must be clearly labelled as produced using genetic modification’;
  • A product should only be labelled ?may contain genetically modified ingredients’ or ?may be produced using processes of genetic modification in circumstances where they contain ingredients that may have come from a GM process and it is not known or feasible to test whether they are GM-free.
  • GM labelling regulations must define the way the terminology is used and the way it is applied.
  • Restaurants and food sold direct to the public must clearly indicate any GM content.
  • Labelling requirements must apply to both local and imported foods and ingredients.
  • Labelling should include balanced information about the possible adverse effects on human and environmental health.
  • The biotechnology corporations and the producers who have adopted them have benefited most from GM technology and should bear the costs of segregation, testing and labelling.

Read here.