GMO labelling in SA – part 2

I posted a little while ago about a social action regarding the reinstatment of the GMO labelling clause in the Consumer Protection Bill after it had been removed. I have some good news to report on the progress of this issue:

Recently, the clause was reinstated which means that any product containing genetically modified food will have to be labelled as such. This is fantastic news because it allows consumers to choose whether they consume GM foods or not. Whether GM foods are safe for consumption is a separate issue, consumers must be allowed to choose what they consume. Just like people can choose to eat Kosher food, vegetarian food, food without nuts, etc, they have the right to choose whether they want to consume GM foods or not.

The clause providing exeption from liability to producers and suppliers for potential dangers of GM foods has also been removed. This clause basically said that if we find out 10 years down the line that GM foods have caused problems, the cost of solving or dealing with the problems will be paid by the taxpayer not the corporations involved in producing and supplying these foods.

I don’t see why these companies should not have to clean up their own mess. After all they are the ones that are making money from selling these products, so they must take the risk. No risk, no reward, that’s how it works. If they are so confident that there is absolutely nothing wrong with GM foods, then they will be happy to take on the liability. If they haven’t tested them properly, I can understand why they are nervous. Then why are they making us eat the stuff. Why should the taxpayer have to pay?

This is exactly what the consumer protection bill is for. Well done.

Thanks to Safeage for the efforts in this regard. Go check out their website and maybe make a contribution to assist them in continuing the good work (or better yet, attend this documentary screening and make a donation there).

The battle is not over. The details of the labelling policy still need to be sorted out and that will be another opportunity for the corporate lobby to get their evil way.

ps. If anyone tells you that compulsory labelling is a bad thing because it will increase the price of food for the poor, tell them to relax. Foods are already labelled for GM in Europe and it did not affect the price. Besides, we already label for kosher, vegetarian, allergens, fat content, etc.

pps. Other good local green blogs have blogged on this topic:
http://www.mothercityliving.co.za/20080922/kentucky-fried-super-chicken/
http://www.urbansprout.co.za/gm_foods_labelled_soon

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1 Response

  1. Dax says:

    While we struggle against the horrific prospect of a corporate controlled food supply here in SA, the same battle rages elsewhere in the world.

    This is an interesting article on the situation in the UK

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/celtic-revolt-against-westminster-over-gm-crops-944768.html