Dear CEO Pick n Pay Mr Richard Brasher, CEO Spar Mr Wayne Hook, CEO Shoprite/Checkers Dr. Whitey Basson, CEO Woolworths Mr Ian Moir, CEO Tiger Brands, Mr Peter Matlare, CEO Premier Foods Mr Tjaart Kruger, MD FoodCorp, MD Mr CB Sampson,

We, the undersigned members of the public, are outraged to learn that our daily bread is contaminated with Genetically Modified (GM) soya. We have learnt that the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) recently submitted samples of white bread brands sold in supermarkets across South Africa to a GMO testing facility, which found the levels of GM soya in the soya flour used in the bread to be extremely high.

The test results are as follow:

White bread brand GM content in soya flour produced by and labelled as

  • Checkers white bread 91.09% Shoprite HoldingsNo GM label. (No ingredients labelled)
  • Woolworths white bread 85.62% Woolworths. Maybe Genetically Modified.
  • Spar white bread 72.69%Spar No GM label. (No ingredients labelled)
  • Blue Ribbon white bread 64.9% Premier Foods. Not labelled.
  • Pick n Pay white bread 42.82% Pick n Pay. Not labelled.
  • Albany superior white bread 23.23% Tiger Brands. Not labelled.
  • Sunbake white bread 20.46% Foodcorp. Not labelled

We are further aghast to learn that despite mandatory labelling for GM foods coming into effect in October 2011 in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, you have still not complied with your legal obligations to label your bread. Such failure is seriously undermining our right to know. We do not want to eat GM foods nor do not want to feed our families GM foods and we certainly don’t want our other staple bread to contain GM ingredients!!

As you are aware, there is strong consensus amongst the scientific community that the current methods used by Monsanto et al, for testing the safety of GM foods are hopelessly inadequate, and that independent and publicly conducted food safety studies are urgently needed. In the absence of these independent studies, we do not want to consume food containing any ingredients derived from GMOs. GM soya in South Africa has been genetically engineered to withstand liberal doses of the chemical, glyphosate which has been implicated in chronic kidney disease in adults, neural tube defects in babies and spontaneous abortions in mothers, as well as birth defects in animals.

Furthermore, despite claims by Monsanto et al that glyphosate does not accumulate in the human body, tests conducted recently on behalf of Moms Across America on human breast milk, urine and drinking water have shown the presence of glyphosate residues. In fact, the use of glyphosate has been banned or its use restricted in a number of countries ( Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, the Netherlands and Argentina).

The ACB has further highlighted in its report on glyphosate that the South African government is unable to monitor glyphosate usage nor does it have the facilities to monitor glyphosate levels in our food. Bread is the second most consumed staple in South Africa after maize and millions of children find bread in their lunchboxes every day. Surely you would want them to be consuming the most superior and nutritious product that you can provide for them.

We don’t care that the use of glyphosate has not yet been banned or its use limited in South Africa, and we certainly don’t care that the use of GM ingredients is not yet illegal. What we do care about is having access to bread that is free of any GM ingredients. We, therefore, demand that you listen to the needs of consumers and provide us with GM-free bread with immediate effect.