It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Surely all you have to do is look at the label or ask the expert behind the counter, after all it’s our food, the very thing we put in our bodies every day. Well obviously not, as was proved when I visited a supermarket recently and asked the prepubescent teenager masquerading as a butcher wether they had any aged beef, his shocked and immediate answer was “no sir, its all fresh”

Now for the labeling, in NZ we’re covered by the toothless cretins at FSANZ (food standards Australia and New Zealand) who seem to be of the opinion that a food producer can put anything they want on their labels regardless of truth or proof. If anyone has the audacity to challenge a label these protectors of our food standards simply ask the manufacture to provide internal research with no independent corroboration. Recently the behemoth of frankenstein science, Monsanto, tried to introduce a new soy seed that FSANZ just accepted on Monsanto’s research whereas India demanded independent testing which lead to them dumping the project and losing millions of dollars of research in preference to actual scientific verification. When will we learn!!

Isn’t it just right and fair that we know where are food is from and what it contains or do we just allow the corporate thieves to keep making extreme profits from misleading us all?

The deliberately cloudy area of Genetic Modification is yet another classic, the FSANZ laws leave consumers in the dark by allowing a number of GE ingredients to be included in our food without any label:

  • Refined ingredients such as oils, cornstarch, soy lecithin and sugars that have been highly processed don’t require labeling
  • Any food prepared at the point of sale such as fresh baked bread, takeaways and other fast foods don’t require labeling.
  • Dairy, meat, eggs, fish, honey and other foods from animals raised on a diet of GE animal feed don’t require labeling.
  • Processing aids and food additives such as vegetarian rennet in some cheese, brewing and baking aids and colourings don’t require labelling.
  • Flavourings when they make up less than 0.1% of the final food product don’t require labeling.

This just beggars belief and yet a prominent NZ chicken producer (note producer and not farmer) recently proudly advertised their chicken was GM free, although they obviously forgot to mention that the feed that the chickens had lived their too brief lives on was not. Have these people never heard the old adage that we are what we eat!

Now this argument will rage on with the global corporates muddying the waters by telling us that the human race has been modifying our food supply for thousands of years, which is true but what they don’t mention is that it was always by natural means over time and not by adding a genetic code from a different species (anyone for frog in their corn!!). Or the other little chestnut that is bounced around as the argument killer is that we have to do this as our population has grown so big that we won’t be able to feed the world without GM, if this is true then why have Monsanto developed a suicide gene so that their seeds can only be grown once instead of a proportion of the crop being kept as the seed stock for the next year. To me this is just a cynical moneymaking exercise that should have them barred from a place at the table, this is our food.

So what can we do, tricky really as it would be wonderful to think that we had the politicians with the balls to stand up to these institutions but lets be honest that isn’t going to happen. At a personal level we need to start making choices that can make a difference. Make personal connections with your food suppliers, whether its your local butcher, fishmonger or farmers market, find out what they believe and learn to trust through sharing in their knowledge. Above all support your local farmers and producers, get to know them and encourage them. It’s your food.

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