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Opinion: where do we stand on genetically modified food?

Nov 1st 2012, 07:47

Opinion: where do we stand on genetically modified food?

The case for Genetically Modified (GM) food is a hotly contested topic from experts in the food industry to consumer bodies with one of the big questions being: what are the long term effects on this for our health?

While this debate marches on many African countries, including South Africa, produce and consume genetically modified foods in great quantities. For many of these countries, and those planning to test genetically modified crops like Ghana, this provides a way to enhance agricultural production and improve the nutritional well-being of its people.

According to a recent article entitled Draft changes to GM label laws published, “Around 77 percent of maize and over 80 percent of soya in South Africa is genetically modified. Maize or soya products are found in a wide range of food, from breakfast cereals, margarine, sausages and hamburgers to chocolate bars, ice cream, bread and baby food.”

Now that draft legislation in South Africa indicates that genetically modified foods have to be labelled accordingly, how is this going to affect consumers’ perception of the food they eat, and will it really be helping them to make informed purchase decisions?

With many schools of thought on the matter, it’s hard to say, which makes it even more difficult to make an informed decision.

On the one hand there are immediate issues of adequately meeting a rising demand for food, which genetically modified food has potential to resolve. On the other hand, there are in-depth studies suggesting that these foods can be harmful, yet still, the industry as a whole, has not reached a united front on the full extent of these effects.

Having said this, is it responsible to warn against something in a use-at-your-own-peril approach, which we as an industry don’t know the full scope of (or at least can’t agree on)? Or is it simply the consumer’s right to know?

Please feel free to make comments or raise new issues by

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5 things you may not know about retail cash handling in South Africa
1. Cash circulation has doubled since 2003

2. An average loss of 0.15% -0.2% between store and bank verification

3. Employees are very aware of the absence of proper security measures in the trading environment

4. Customers are becoming increasingly aware, educating themselves that there is a major difference between a “safe” and a proper safe or vault

5. 94% of robberies are as a direct result of “inside” information

Information supplied by Richard Phillips (Cash Connect).

Want to know more?

Visit the Cash Connect website

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