Genetically engineered (GE) foods pose new health risks. Yet Food Authority(ANZFA) exemptions mean most GE foods remain unlabelled. Twenty one different varieties of GE soy, corn, canola, potato, cotton and sugarbeet imported from North America, and Australian GE cotton oil and food thickener are now approved.
Only one variety requires labelling. Most of the GE crop plants from which GE foods come either produce insecticides in their cells or can tolerate being sprayed with the herbicides Roundup or Basta. Who wants to eat insecticides, herbicide residues, or foreign genes and proteins? Industry promises of safer and more nutritious foods are not true. Seniors and young children with allergic reactions, asthma and low immunity should avoid new GE foods.
To choose our food, full GE food labelling is essential but government has let us down. Labelling was promised from December 7, 2001, but there are exemptions from labelling for GE food products: . made from animals fed on GE feeds (meat, milk, eggs, honey, etc); . refined GE foods, eg: oil, sugars, starches; . processing aids or food additives made by GE microbes; . flavours present at less than 0.1%; . from restaurants, take-aways, etc; . unintentionally contaminated, up to 1% per ingredient; and . processed before December 7, 2001.
Though there is no effective labelling, we are not powerless. How you spend your food budget sends a message to food processors about what kinds of food you want. To assist you to make good food choices, GeneEthics and Greenpeace have published a user-friendly True Food Guide to GE-free shopping.
Different categories of processed foods are grouped by brand, then divided into Green, Orange and Red according to their GE or GE-free status. Its as simple as ABC. And remember, for a long healthy life, nutrition experts recommend three serves of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Not one of them is a product of gene technology!
Call the GeneEthics Network for your True Food Guide: 1300 133 868