- South Africa is the world’s eighth largest producer of genetically modified organisms.
- No other African country grows GM crops on a commercial basis.
- Estimates vary, but the general consensus is that 40% of our maize crop, 60% of our soya, and 80% of our cotton are GM varieties.
- We import GM maize and soya from Argentina and the USA mainly for animal feed.
- GM and non-GM crops are usually not segregated or kept apart when grown in South Africa.
- ACB says South Africa has been growing GM crops since 1999 and consumers have been largely unaware that their staple food, maize, has been genetically modified.
- Voluntary labels are also permissible; one denoting that the food “does not contain GMO’s”, where the GM content is 0.9% or less and the other, stating that the “GM content is less than 5%”, where the GM content is between 1% and 4.9%. Few food products are likely to be labelled as not containing GMO’s owing to the widespread contamination in South Africa between GM and non- GM food.
- The SA regulations state foodstuffs containing more than 5% of GM organisms should be labelled “contains genetically modified organisms”, whether or not they originate in SA.
- The first GM crop to be grown commercially in this country was GM cotton in 1997.
- Most supermarket chains do not offer SA consumers a non-GM option, however, Woolworths state they have removed GM ingredients from their products wherever possible, and will supply a list of products that may contain GM ingredients upon request.
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