South African chain’s committment to reduce GMOs doesn’t impress activists

Woolworths has announced that it intends to cut back genetically modified or GMO products by 50 percent but food activists are sceptical.

The chain store says they will shift from selling food with 5.7 percent to 2.7 percent GM content by July 2015. But they have declined to provide The Journalist with a list so that we can keep tabs on this promised rollout.

“Many of our customers have told us that they would prefer not to buy products that may contain ingredients from GM crop sources, and we respect their wishes,” said Woolworths Managing Director for Foods Zyda Ryland.

But a representative of the watchdog group, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) says the announcement is not good news.

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“We were delighted when in 1999 Woolworths publicly committed to eliminate genetically modified ingredients wherever possible and to work hand-in-hand with suppliers to do so. We had applauded their stand hoping that they would lead other retail stores to do the same. We were hugely taken aback to find five years later, 79 percent GM maize in Woolworths Super Maize meal and 86 percent GM soya in the soya flour used in Woolworths White Bread.

More disappointing was the misuse of the ‘May be Genetically Modified label in clear violation of their stated policy to label products containing GM ingredients where these product could not be removed,” said Haidee Swanby, Researcher at the ACB.

Read the full, original article:  South Africa: GM – Mixed messages from Woolworths

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