05 July 2012

The Joy of (Willards) Snacks: GMOs in Big Korn Bites

Not that I'm planning to turn this blog into a GMO-activism sort of thing, but, consonant with the notion that self-sufficiency is inherently anti-corporate (and possibly a bit subversive) here's more follow-up on my comments about the fraud being perpetuated by the pro-GMO lobby.

It starts with a quick note to Willards Chips, local snack manufacturer and a division of AVI (previously called National Brands - they can't seem to leave their own branding alone), one of the largest "food" conglomerates in the country:
So I popped a bag of my favourite-for-decades snack - a bag of Big Korn Bytes, expecting a yummy Sweet Chilli flavour, but instead got something more like Salt & Vinegar. WTF? I thought, so put on my specs and had a look on the back of the bag.

Kudos to you for actually putting the information there (or is that a Consumer Protection requirement) that the Maize used in BKBs contains GMO Maize?) 
Brickbats to you for supporting the GMO industry which is destroying our agro-biodiversity, handing our food-security to our American Seed Overlords, and is fraudulent in its claims. (See my blog-posts http://blog.mikro2nd.net/2011/12/great-gmo-scam.html and http://blog.mikro2nd.net/2012/03/gmo-scam-followup.html for why.) 
So sadly, that's the last bag of my favourite snack I'll ever be opening - unless you change your ways and take a stand against GMO ingredients. So long and thanks for all the snacks... 
PS: I will also be blogging this to my blog in the interests of creating greater awareness of the prevalence of GMOs in our food.
PPS: Also suffered the worst indigestion I've experience in many long years, last night. Coincidence?
Well, I didn't really expect any reply different than the following:

[tl;dr: GMOs are legal. GMOs are safe: the government said so.]
Dear Mike

Thank you for your mail and our sincere apologies for your experience with your pack of BKB.

To answer your comments with regards the use of GMO ingredients :-

In terms of the recently implemented Consumer Protection Act it has been legislated that all foodstuffs containing Genetically Modified Organisms need to be declared on the label.

The Genetically Modified Organisms Act - Act no 15 of 1997 came into full effect on 01 December 1999.

Any altering of the genetic code of any food ingredient now needs to be declared on pack.

The Genetic modification referred to on the BKB pack is directly related to the maize used in the manufacture of the product. In this instance, Genetic Modification has taken place to the maize plant to make it resistant to insect infestation thus presenting farmers with greater yields and reducing losses due to insect damage. In South Africa, the three main crops containing genetically modified organisms are Maize, Soya and Cottonseed. These have all been cleared for use as foodstuffs and or animal feeds by the Minister of Agriculture.

There are maize cultivars which are not genetically modified and these are still predominantly in use. However, there is no guarantee from the farming co ops that any mixture of maize is free of genetic modification as all maize is stored in common silos after harvesting. Testing of the maize we use has revealed the presence of genetically modified organisms hence the labeling on pack.

The genetic modification in no way poses any danger to the consumer. All genetically modified foods are carefully assessed by independent laboratories to ensure that they are equal or better in all ways to the conventional product and will not increase allergies or toxicity. Food Safety in South Africa is still controlled by the Foodstuffs Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act.
What a pity they couldn't be bothered (or, more likely, are not permitted by their legal department, to address the substance of my comments.)

I'm not even going to start on the question of how safe these things are for us to eat; other people have commented in greater depth, and far more lucidly on the question that I ever could.

I tell you, if this is the extent of the intelligence we're up against, there's no way we can lose!

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