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Hidden GMO On Our Plate

Hidden GMO On Our Plate

Together with GM Freeze, UK launched campaign on GM food, crops and patents, we tried to understand how genetically modified products can end up on our plate without knowing it.

Most people in the UK don’t eat food made from genetically modified (GM) ingredients but the animals that produce meat, eggs and dairy products have less choice.

The vast majority of non-organic farm animals are fed GM soya and/or maize, even if they spend some of their time grazing outdoors.

Surveys show that consumers want to know about GM animal feed, but it is hidden from view because it does not need to be listed on the label of the food it goes to produce.

Why does it matter?

At least a third of global farmland is used to produce animal feed and the GM versions support farming regimes that harm people, animals and the environment.

Most GM soya is designed to survive being sprayed with large doses of specific weed killers, mostly glyphosate which, according to the WHO, probably causes cancer. It has been sprayed so extensively that glyphosate-resistant weeds are now commonplace and GM companies are creating new GM crops that can be sprayed with even more powerful herbicides.

GM Bt maize produces a substance that kills insect pests, but in the time they develop resistance. Meanwhile beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybirds are also harmed.

GM farming works on conflict with nature. It reduces biodiversity and victims include the monarch butterfly, whose 90% decline is caused by GM farming.

Don’t we need GM?

The GM crops that are being fed to our farm animals don’t help people in developing countries. They won’t help us to prevent or adapt to climate change. They are part of an industrial approach to farming that uses patents to control farmers and put profits for multinational corporations before sustainability, animal welfare or good quality food.

Is it too late to change things?

Animal feed is the back door for bringing GM into the UK but you can close it. GM and non-GM feed are often mixed together but if customers demand non GM-fed meat, eggs and dairy products, the farmers importers and wholesalers will have an incentive to keep them separate.

Consumer power can, and does, change the world. German poultry producers recently switched to VM chicken feed, but quickly changed back because consumers and campaigners persuaded the supermarkets to specify, and pay for, non-GM.

If we all stand together and say NO to GM-fed meat, eggs and dairy products, more orders will be placed for GM-free; existing crops will be better segregated and less GM will be grown.

What can I do?

If you eat non-organic meat, eggs or dairy products, the only way you can know if the animals were GM-fed is to ask the supplier.

The most important thing you can do is let the people who make the food you buy know that you don’t want GM in the food chain.

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