Recent laboratory tests have discovered that consumers in Israel are eating Genetically Modified Organisms – whether they like it or not.
Tests by Milouda Quality Control Laboratories, which analyses food destined for sale in the European Union, discovered GM soya in popular foods sold in stores across Israel, reports Haaretz. Food contaminated with GM included baked goods, packaged schnitzel and meat substitutes. Israeli favourites like falafel could also potentially contain GM if they are fried in soya oil.
Biotechnology research may be big business in Israel but, as far as I am aware, no GM crops are grown commercially in the country. However, it is clearly being imported and is entering the human food chain via processed foods or animal feed. In addition to denying consumer choice – and putting public health at risk – GM contamination could precipitate an economic disaster for the Israeli food industry.
EU law requires all food containing GM to be labelled and many retailers refuse to stock any GM whatsoever. If the Israeli food industry doesn’t take action promptly, it risks exports to the EU and elsewhere being wiped out overnight – a fate which already befallen non-GM farmers in north America.
Far from being a precise ‘science’, GM is a relatively new and unpredictable technology based on inserting a gene from one organism to another in the hope of transferring specific genetic traits. Despite attempts by GM proponents to persuade the public that their crops are safe to eat, the lack of reliable scientific studies, such as animal feeding trials, have led to a backlash by consumers and farmers in many countries. The small number of available scientific studies [PDF report] have found alarming health effects including:
- High mortality rates in the offspring of rats fed Monstanto’s GM Roundup Ready soya in a Russian laboratory
- Toxic effects on the liver and kidneys of rats fed Monstanto GM maize in Germany
- Allergic reactions in mice after eating peas modified with a gene from the kidney bean found by Australian scientists.
So why is GM being sold in Israel without being labelled or adequately tested?
Take action: If you are concerned and want the choice to eat GM-free food in Israel, then email the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour <click for webform>, Ministry of Environmental Protection <[email protected]> and Ministry of Agriculture <[email protected]> to demand the following:
- An immediate moratorium on all GM imports into Israel
- The introduction of mandatory labelling of all food containing GM
- A full and open public debate over the Genetic Modification of food in Israel.
Photo credit: The Rocketeer.