Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You are what you GM eat


Food labelling has had a bad time of it and now the government is making it worse with plans for GM labelling that do not go far enough.

Organic farmers are rightly up in arms at government plans to label food that contains genetically modified content if it registers over a 0.9% GM element.

Green groups say this threshold should be nearer 0.1%, which seems sensible. People have a right to know what they are eating and if it is possible to tell that food has been messed with in anyway then it should be labelled so.

The government says the guidelines, based on European Commission ones, are "adequate" and "appropriate".

Appropriate? You can hear the civil servant speaking. Clearly it isn't appropriate if the labels are designed to warn of cross-contamination of food and doesn't do its job. Customers want to make a choice and these rules don't allow it.

The Soil Association and Friends of the Earth say 0.9% is too high, saying GM contamination is measurable for an amount as low as 0.1%.

Keith Abel, of organic food delivery firm Abel & Cole, said: "All of our customers are against GM full stop. Customers buy from a company like ours based on an element of trust. If up to 0.9% of the content can be GM, that trust would be undermined."

New TV rules that ban “unhealthy foods” such as cheese, Marmite, honey and tomato ketchup being advertised to children have been condemned as “absurd”.

Foods like Marnite, cheese and peanut butter are now all caught up in the junk food kids’ TV ad ban.

Since when has Marmite and peanut butter been junk food? Things are getting out of hand. I personally couldn't live without Marmite on toast for breakfast. Its full of vitamins. OK, it has salt, but no one is suggesting you eat it by the jar load.

Weirdly, while these foods face as ban the guidelines will still allow non-nutritious products such as chicken nuggets, diet cola and white bread. Please someone explain, I don't get it.

The Grocer wants Ofcom to change the formula for deciding which products are subject to the restrictions on food and drink adverts. Makes sense to me.

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