Last year South Africans won the right to have Genetically Modified foods labelled as such, and yet 5 months after the regulations were meant to take effect, very few products are labelled!!!  In the light of this, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) sent 4 samples to the internationally respected and independent GMO testing facility at the University of the Free State who conducted several thorough qualitative PCR screenings. The results are astonishing and disturbing.

  • Nestle’s Infant cereal, Cerelac Honey was found to contain 77.65% of GM maize DNA in relation to the total maize DNA.
     
  • Bokomo’s Wheat Free Pronutro was found to contain both GM maize and GM soya: 90.36% GM maize and 71.42% GM soya. This despite verbal assurances given to us telephonically by Bokomo staff that the product was non-GM!
     
  • Future Life Energy meal, an ubiquitous dietary supplement, found also at health stores and heavily promoted publicly as being “perfect for athletes of all levels and for high performance sports” is ironically, the only product that tested 100% positive for GM maize! It also contains 36.13% of GM soya.
     
  • Impala maize meal was found to contain 66.18% GM maize. This maize is consumed daily by millions of South Africans as an integral part of their staple diet.

Don’t you agree that this is totally unacceptable? Food producers are being disingenuous in flouting the law in this way. We are being wilfully deceived and deprived of our right to know what is in the food we eat and to make informed choices.
  
The African Centre for Biosafety is taking legal advice on the matter and intends to fully utilise the remedies contained in the Consumer Protection Act, to ensure that the rights of consumers are fully enforced. Watch this space as you might be called into further action.

If you feel as cheated as we do then there are at least 3 things you can do.  

Firstly, write to the Consumer Commissioner to demand that these products be labelled. Contact the commissioner at m.mohlala@thencc.org.za

Secondly, contact the Supermarket Chains and ask them why they are allowing unlabelled products on the shelves when it clearly contravenes the regulations.  Are they not serious about our rights as consumers?

To make it easier for you to take action, here are the contact details for the some of the larger supermarket chains:

Pick n Pay 
http://www.picknpay.co.za/picknpay/content/en/contact-us or 
http://www.facebook.com/Picknpay?sk=wall (you’ll have to like the page first before you can post)

Shoprite
mailto:consumer@shoprite.co.za

Spar
intcontact.us@spar.co.za
http://www.spar.co.za/ContactUs838.aspx
http://www.facebook.com/myspar

Woolworths (of products we tested, Woolworths only stocks Wheatfree Pronutro)
custserv@woolworths.co.za
http://www.facebook.com/WoolworthsSA

Dischem (stockist of Future Life)
http://www.dischem.co.za/contactus.asp
http://www.facebook.com/Dischem
 

Thirdly, you can also contact the food companies directly, just to ask them why is it that they don’t respect our right to know and just label the foods as Genetically Modified!  The food company details are:

Nestle Cerelac
http://www.nestle.co.za/Common/Peripherals/Pages/ContactUs.aspx

Bokomo’s Pronutro 
http://www.bokomocereals.co.za/contact

Future Life
http://www.futurelife.co.za/contact-us.php
info@futurelife.co.za
http://www.facebook.com/futurelifeza?ref=ts

Impala Maize Meal
http://www.premierfoods.com/contact.htm or 

Gary Krause on CustomerCare@Premierfoods.com

If you get any feedback please let us know via email or via our facebook pages (details below).  As always, if you have any comments or ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.

Remember we all need to actso that we will eventually make a difference.  That’s how we got the labelling for GMO content legislated in the first place.  

Regards 

Mariam and Zakiyya of African Centre for Biosafety (ACB)

 Join us on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/LabelGMFoods
http://www.facebook.com/AfricanCentreforBiosafety 

For info about what GMOs are and the health risks and issues about food security go to: 

http://scenicsouth.co.za//2012/03/genetically-modified-crops-in-sa-%e2%80%93-letter-of-caution-to-friends/