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 JSekgobela@thedti.gov.za
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today brought into sharp focus the white bread industry in South Africa with the release of its new report “GM Contamination, Cartels and Collusion in South Africa’s Bread Industry.’ The report shows that the white bread tested contains high levels of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soya in the soya flour used in the bread and that most companies are unashamedly flouting GM labelling laws and undermining the consumer’s right to know. The nation consumes about 2.8 billion loaves of bread a year, handing over more than R28 billion of their hard-earned cash to a cartel comprising Tiger Brands, Premier Foods, Pioneer Foods and Foodcorp, that controls the wheat-to-bread value chain. Roughly a quarter of South Africans live below the bread line and price fluctuations in bread – our second most important staple food after maize – has hit the poor the hardest.
Executive Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet commented, “A small number of unscrupulous cartels control and benefit from the value chains of our staple foods, maize and bread. They have been repeatedly sanctioned for anti-competitive behaviour, have been complicit in saturating our staple food with risky GM ingredients and
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||Labelled as|
|Checkers white bread||91.09%||Shoprite Holdings||No GM label. (No ingredients labelled)|
|Woolworths white bread||85.62%||Woolworths||May be 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
Just as consumers were welcoming the news that Tiger Brands has decided to ditch genetically modified (GM) ingredients in its baby food, GMO testing carried out by an independent laboratory on behalf of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has revealed shocking results in respect of five of Tiger Brands’ most popular maize based products.
The test results on the five products were as follows:
– Ace super maize meal 78% GM maize content.
– Ace maize rice 70% GM maize content.
– Ace instant porridge 68% GM maize content.
– Lion samp and beans 48% GM maize content
– Jungle B’fast energy cereal 41% GM maize content.
The GM maize used in these products will almost certainly contain residues of toxic glyphosate based herbicides, since the vast majority of GM maize cultivated in South Africa has been geneticallly engineered to be resistent to Monsanto’s Roundup. There is now a substantial body of scientifically peer-reviewed data that links glyphosate exposure with severe human health impacts.
Tiger Brands’ Ace brands, consumed as a staple on a daily basis by the vast majority of South Africans, contained the highest levels of GM presence. Community groups are up in arms about these revelations.
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released results of tests conducted on 7 baby formulas and cereals, by an independent and accredited GM testing laboratory. The results reveal that Purity baby cereals contain extremely high levels of GM content whereas Nestl?’s infant formulas and cereal indicate that Nestle appears to be going GM free. Aspen’s infant formulas also indicate GM avoidance. Shockingly, comparisons also reveal that Purity’s GM baby cereals cost 250% more than non-GM cereals, exploding the myth that GM free food is an expensive and impractical luxury.
PURITY’S BABY CEREALS
Purity’s Cream of Maize tested positive as containing 56.25% GM maize; and Purity’s Purity Baby First tested positive as containing 71.47% GM maize.
Neither of these baby foods were labeled as containing products derived from genetically modified maize. This is not the first time that Purity’s Cream of Maize cereal tested positive for GM. In 2008, consumer watchdog SAFeAGE revealed the product to contain more than 24% GM maize.
“Why has Purity not labeled its products? By failing to label, Purity has acted disingenuously and deprived parents of crucial information about their baby’s nutrition. Adult consumers in SA do not want to eat GM
Comments on: Draft amendments to regulations to the Consumer Protection Act related to labelling of GMOs 8 November 2012
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
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”
Press Release from the African Centre for Biosafety
20th March 2012
Following revelations that several common household food products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has sought advice on its legal options. The ACB seeks to enforce the public’s right of access to information on the GMO content of food products so that consumers can make informed choices according to their individual wishes and needs.
Mariam Mayet, spokesperson for the ACB, revealed that the ACB has been advised that regulations made under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) require that, as from October 2011, all food products containing at least 5% GMOs approved for commercialisation by the Executive Council for GMOs must carry a notice stating that the product ‘contains Genetically Modified Organisms’. These regulations apply irrespective of whether the food products were made or manufactured in South Africa or overseas, and prohibit the production, supply, import or packaging of food products without the required notice.? This notice must be applied to the products themselves or to marketing material, and must be in a conspicuous and easily legible manner and size.
Mayet stated that the ACB has been advised that it is an