I’m not a fan of Genetically Modified food, but I can understand where it comes from and to be honest we all have been eating it for a long while anyway so in part the fuss, about what crop is safe, seems a bit disingenuous.
Basically we have four different types of old-style GM foods
1. Plants and their fruit that are resistant to pesticide: Allows the farmer to spray his crop and kill the pests without damaging the plant or its crop. GM Corn, Sugar Cane and Soya Beans are examples
2. Plants and their fruit that are resistant to Insecticide: GM Sweet Corn produces a poison that kills insects. GM Maize, Potatoes and Cotton are other examples
3. Plants and their fruit that have enhances qualities: Golden rice has more Vitamin-A that normal rice
4. Plants and their fruit that have less of an inclination to rot and decay: Tomatoes stay fresh longer. GM strawberries, peppers, bananas and pineapples are other examples
The most common GM foods by percentage are Soya Beans 46% Rape seed and its products 11% and Sweet Corn 7% … The rub for us that if your purchase contains less that 1% GM product it doesn’t have to be labelled, and in Europe these three products have been freely available and permitted since June 2002. In 1994 the tomato has the distinction of being the first GM food commonly available in the USA and it is estimated that about 65% of all products in US supermarkets contain GM ingredients. In Europe tomatoes and rice still haven’t had approval.
The Dark side of GM
But then we have other areas where I feel the boat is being pushed that little bit further from the shore. We have Unilever seeking approval of a genetically modified (GM)ice-structuring protein derived from a polar fish, ocean pout, for use in making Breyer’s Ice Cream smoother and creamier…. I’ve asked this before.
Do you really want a GM protein in your ice cream?
And what other little GM additives are there in other products?
- Producing GM crops like soya to feed to animals that will be slaughtered for meat and for cows that produce milk is allowed … No labelling required for the product.
- GM Organisms can be used to produce aspartame a sugar substitute allowed in the EU. Riboflavine (E101 Food colour) a Vitamin-B2 additive and Glutamate, as in MSG, a flavour enhancer … No labelling required for the product.
- Foods like cheese, yoghurts and beer that are produced with GM technology…. No labelling required for the product.
- Honey, bees are not selective where they get pollen or nectar from, so your honey could be a by product of a GM rape crop…. No labelling required for the product.
While we are on bees…
Imagine you have a field of organic maize next to a field of GM modified maize … by the action of insects and the wind, you cannot possible say that your organic crop is 100% organic. At the end of a growing season it WILL contain elements of the neighbouring GM crop.
The issue of cross contamination and The Darker side of GM crops and companies will be highlighted further in Part 2.
So how do you avoid GM products, if that is your wish.
Buy M & S in the UK or organic… No one can promise it will be 100% Organic, but they will try.
Avoid processed… Not great anyway
Check soya and soya based products for GM labels … be vigilant
Finally, if you find products and suppliers you trust, let them know you are buying from them because their products do not contain GM ingredients and then tell your friends and family. Also tell them you will stop buying their products if they go down the GM route.
Photographs and pictures from Wikipedia