Frankenstein Falafel? Israeli consumers at risk from GM foods


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.

Sources in Judaism and other Abrahamic Faiths stress that GM is an unkosher technology and runs counter to their religions.

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.

:: Genetically enhanced food sold unmarked, Haaretz.
:: GM crops – the health effects, Soil Association [PDF report].
:: Treif Tomatoes,Teva Learning Centre.

Photo credit: The Rocketeer.

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24 thoughts on “Frankenstein Falafel? Israeli consumers at risk from GM foods”

  1. pixie says:

    the 2 e-mail links to israeli government in this article no longer exist! i sent them rather lengthy requests for them to consider opening discussions and labelling of g.m foods

    1. Good. Less us know.I’ve spoken with people at the Volcani center in Israel and they tell me that there are no GM foods grown in Israel. As for imports…

  2. Susan says:

    Once a Bt-crop is allowed, it will spread. The wind and rain carries and spreads all seeds or pollen.

  3. I'm wondering if you've heard any updates on this topic. Thanks, T

  4. Russ Lemon says:

    Genetic Modification is a tool. It can be used for good or for evil. The problem is determining whether a genetically modified food is good for you or a toxic poison, or something in between.

    I now know that Bt-foods produce the Bt-toxin, a pesticide and poison that made me very ill. By avoiding GM foods & aspartame, I have recovered my health, am no longer diabetic, and no longer need the massive doses of blood pressure medication. For the rest of my story, http://Opinion.FarTooMuch.Info/GMO.htm .

    Unless you know for certain that a particular GM food is safe & beneficial, I would recommend avoiding it.


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  16. Karin Kloosterman says:

    Interesting point George. I don’t think Israelis need improved, but maybe GM food will temper their hostility on the road.

    I guess if GM food is being imported to Israel the same must be true for Syria, Lebanon and nearby Jordan and Egypt. Sounds frightening. Is there a list of brands that we can look out for? God forbid falafel, a safe veggie food, will be compromised…

  17. george gibson says:

    Whats the problem with israelis eating GM food ?
    It might improve them !

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