GMOs IN NEW ZEALAND RIGHT NOW
As a big supporter of organic food initiatives, I've been doing some research on the arch-enemy, aka Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs.
You may not be aware, but unlabelled GM foods are being sold in NZ right now. How do you feel about that?
What I have discovered has been shocking to me. I had, like most NZ people, believed the greenwashing myth that we are GE-free. But it seems like we’re getting tons of potentially GM-contaminated food. What is happening is that many GMO products are exempt from GM food labelling requirements 'because they contain no GM DNA'. Woohoo. For instance, our guardians and protectors at Food Safety Australia and NZ (FSANZ) say that there’s not GM DNA in Canola oil…but there may be. Read below.
GM Wheat, Lucerne, Corn, Cotton, Soy and Sugar Beet are all approved for use by FSANZ. So look for those products (particularly grown in Australia) in the food that you eat and the clothes that you wear. Roundup-ready shirt, anyone? Presently these crops aren't grown in NZ, but they sure as hell might be imported here.
And all this hegemony has reached the shores of good old clean-green NZ.
GM FOODS IN NZ - UNLABELLED, UNWANTED, AND OVER HERE
The quoted text below is from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ GM website. Go have a look, there’s some hair-raising stuff in there.
"There are over 20 approved GM foods [ie in NZ] - less than half are varieties of corn.
Food that contains GM DNA or protein, or has altered characteristics, must be labelled as 'genetically modified.'
Exemptions to the labelling requirements include:
GM food which contains no GM DNA or new protein and has no other altered characteristics
Flavours present in the food in concentrations no more than 0.1%
A genetically-modified food is unintentionally present in a quantity of no more than 1%"
FSANZ says that GM Canola oil contains no GMOs, i.e. doesn't need to be labelled. But Madge disagrees - GM DNA has been detected in Canola in Australia. Follow the link below, and also have a look at the whole Madge website.
So the Canola oil you are getting (for instance, in Best Foods Mayonnaise, which is made in Canada) probably has GMOs in it. They certainly don't say it's GE-free on the label.
THE MONSANTO / ROUNDUP TIE-UP
It is most likely that any Canola that you get from the US or Canada is GM, and that it has been sprayed with Roundup. This is because the most prevalent genetic modification in use in GM crops is to make them Roundup-ready - ie they can be oversprayed with herbicide without dying. If you’re lucky, it’s also been sprayed with 2.4D (they’re working on that too). So you are almost certainly, and inadvertently, getting Roundup residue in every food that has US- or Canadian-grown Canola in it. I'm not sure if I need a teaspoon full of Roundup with my meals.
POACHERS AND GAMEKEEPERS
What is even better is that the government (FSANZ) do not TEST GMOs imported into NZ. They rely on the PRODUCERS of GMOS to determine whether they are safe. This is like asking the Big Bad Wolf if it's safe to go into the forest. This isn't just my conspiracist fantasy - it's on the same government website I quoted from above. In other words, the NZ government just listens to Big Ag and will do nothing to protect you unless they are forced to.
Quoting from the Min Prim Ind website again - in response to the question Does FSANZ commission its own scientific studies? The reply is:
"No. It is the responsibility of companies that develop GM foods to demonstrate the safety of that food, and to supply FSANZ with the raw data from scientific studies to prove this."
Of course Big Ag will always supply glowing testimonials by privately-commissioned scientists.
WHAT TO DO NOW?
This is the real point of this blog. I'd like to hear from anyone who has suggestions on how we can counter the hegemony of big ag and resist the flow of GM foods to NZ. Obviously Ooooby and similar products are one way to go, as is growing your own, but it seems that we will at some point be forced into an all-out food war with the government and their corporate masters.
Don't buy big-ag products
Guard your gates - do research and exclude GM canola, soy and other products if you can
Support organic growers
Challenge corrupt government behaviour
Vote for parties that have an anti-GMO stance......