The African Centre for Biosafety, (ACB), South Africa’s consumer watchdog organization has revealed new shocking results in respect of five of Tiger Brands’ most popular products. The products involved are SA’s most popular maize based products, which are considered a staple in the SA diet and they were tested by an independent laboratory for the presence of genetically modified maize.
The test results reflect the following: Ace super maize meal contained 78% genetically modified maize; Ace maize rice 70% genetically modified maize; Ace instant porridge contained 68% genetically modified maize; Lion samp and beans contained 48% genetically modified maize; Jungle B’fast energy cereal contained 41% Genetically modified maize.
Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet said that “It is a travesty that we are the only nation on Earth where our staple food, namely maize, is genetically modified. We demand GM-free, safe and nutritious food for all South Africans. Our government must commit to establishing GM-free zones in South Africa as a matter of urgency. It must also support food sovereignty initiatives in South Africa to ensure local control over food production, especially maize. We reject out of hand the current situation of corporate control of our food systems.”
ACB has expressed considerable concern as most of the genetically modified maize cultivated in SA has been genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. 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.
According to Zukiswa Nomwa of the Coalition for Ecological Justice (CEJ), based in Khayelitsha, “people don’t want to eat GM maize. Moreover, most people can’t afford Purity. What they feed their infants as a first food is maize. It doesn’t make sense for Tiger Brands to remove GMOs from Purity baby foods but not from their other maize-based products”. According to ACB’s Consumer Awareness Campaigner, Zakiyya Ismail, “All of these products are misleadingly labelled as ‘may contain GM ingredients’, a label which is only allowed to be used when it is not feasible or scientifically possible to test. Consumers have the right to accurate and truthful labelling as required by the Consumer Protection Act.”