Monsanto's GM food, formula and canola dumped

14 October 2010

To mark UN World Food Day, mothers and shoppers will dump rogue GM canola weeds, and GM contaminated soy infant formula S-26, at Monsanto's headquarters today at Noon.

The protest is a collaboration between Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering (MADGE), GM-free advocacy group Gene Ethics, and members of the Latin American community. All are outraged at GM contaminating Australian food and ecosystems. They also share concerns about the impacts of GM soy on the health of citizens and farmers in South America where GM soy dominates agriculture.

Bags of GM canola plants collected from roadsides will be dumped with the owners of patented GM seed. Processed foods that contain unlabelled GM soy, corn, canola and cottonseed will also be dumped at Monsanto's HQ. Wyeth's soy formula S-26 has consistently tested positive for GM soy and corn but remains unrecalled and unlabelled. The company claims the GM contamination is "accidental".

MADGE co-founder Fran Murrell says shoppers must have a right to choose GM-free foods but the loopholes in Australia's weak labelling laws allow most GM foods to remain unlabelled.

"Unlike the EU, processed GM food ingredients such as canola oil, sugars and starches are unlabelled in Australia," Ms Murrell says. "Our food authority (FSANZ) exempts up to 1% 'accidental' GM food contamination from labelling. Some processors are misusing the 'accidental' threshold in the food standard to mask routine GM contamination that should have a GM label.

"We encourage people to tell Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon that they want our labelling laws changed to require all foods made using GM techniques to be labelled. When it reports, the national food labelling review should mandate GM labels."

Gene Ethics Director Bob Phelps says the state elections coming up in Victoria and NSW will be a great chance for everyone to vote for renewed bans on GM canola, before our food and environment are completely GM contaminated.

"The Victorian and NSW State Governments ignored the concerns of most shoppers and farmers when they lifted their bans on growing commercial GM canola in 2008. Only 8% of the national canola crop is GM this year. But GM contamination of our food supply chains threatens the $15/tonne premium now paid for GM-free canola. The state governments are responsible for protecting local and export markets and the premiums show that most people will not buy or eat GM food."

"Meanwhile, Monsanto must accept responsibility for the impacts of its polluting GM canola seed, by accepting liability for any GM contamination and cleaning up GM canola weeds where they emerge."

WHAT: Protest & GM canola weeds and food return

WHERE: Monsanto headquarters

WHEN: Friday, October 15, midday

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