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The ACB has today, released test results on the most extensively
consumed maize brands in South Africa, which indicate that the entire
maize supply is utterly saturated with GM maize. “The majority of
South Africans are not only eating GM maize without their knowledge
and consent but have no choice or alternative whatsoever even if the
products were correctly labelled. This is totally undemocratic and
unacceptable. It smacks of outright food fascism” said Mariam Mayet,
Director of the African Centre for Biosafety.


South Africa is the only country in the world to permit the
cultivation of genetically modified (GM) seed for the production of a
staple food-maize. 86% of the 2012/13 maize crop was planted to GM
seed on 2.7 million ha. 81% of the white maize seed sold was GM-and
belonging to Monsanto. GM white maize is used principally as milled
maize meal for human consumption and eaten by several million South
Africans as a staple food, at least once a day.

Three major food producers Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods and Premier
Foods control the milling of 60% of the nation’s white maize crop.
Milled maize products, Ace, White Star and Iwisa Super Maize Meal
belonging to Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods, and Premier, respectively,
constitute over 73% of the maize meal market respectively.

The test results are as follows:

Premier’s Iwisa 81.2% GM content (labelled as ‘contains
genetically modified organisms”) October 2013;
Pioneer’s White Star Super Maize meal 72,04% GM maize content
(labelled as “produced using genetic modification”) October 2013;
Premier’s course braai pap, 55.22% GM maize content (labelled as
“may contain genetically modified organisms”) October 2013;
Premier’s Nyala Super Maize Meal, 87.44% GM maize content (labelled
as “contains genetically modified organisms”) March 2013;
Woolworth’s Super Maize meal, 79.78% GM maize content (labelled as
“may be genetically modified”) March 2013.

“We are hugely taken aback and disappointed by the test results for
the Woolworths’ Maize Meal as this high GM content and misleading
labelling flies in the face of their stated position. Woolworths is on
record as stating that their policy is to replace or remove
ingredients derived from GM crop sources, or to label the final
products containing ingredients derived from GM crops, to ensure
customer choice,” said Zakiyya Ismail, ACB’s consumer awareness

Pioneer’s ‘White Star’ super maize meal corners 25.3% of the
market, Tiger Brand’s ‘Ace’ super maize meal 22.5%, Premier
Foods flagship brand ‘Iwisa’ 13.3%, and when combined with sales
of its other brands ‘Impala’ maize meal and ‘Nyala’ maize,
Premier lays claim to a hefty 25.5% of the market.1

The ACB has during June 2013 also subjected several Tiger Brands’
‘ACE’ milled maize products for testing and these were unlabelled
and showed extremely high GM content:

ACE Super maize meal 78% GM maize content
ACE Maize Rice 70% GM maize content
ACE Instant Porridge 68% GM maize content

The ACB has also during March 2012, subjected Premier’s Impala maize
meal to testing and 66.18% GM content was found. This was unlabelled
at the time of testing in March 2012.

Animal feeding studies have shown Bt maize causes liver and kidney
damage in rats, mice and sheep,2 and severe stomach inflammation in
pigs.3 Further, approximately 64% of the GM maize grown in South
Africa is tolerant to glyphosate, a broad spectrum herbicide
associated with a plethora of health risks to human, animal and
environmental health. “It is very disturbing that South Africans are
unknowingly consuming staple foods whose safety has not been
established and where evidence of its potential harm is becoming
increasingly apparent,” said Ismail.

Despite the safety risks, Tiger Brands has refused point blank to
provide GM free food to the South African public. However, it has
expediently, caved in to consumer pressure and have agreed to use
non-GM ingredients in its Purity brand of baby foods after test
results showed these to contain high GM content. These baby foods were
also unlabelled. An Open Letter sent by the ACB to the National
Chamber of Milling in July 2013, as the representative body for the
milling industry in South Africa, calling upon it to ensure the
establishment of GM free value chains has been ignored. Instead, the
National Chamber of Milling has entered into a strategic partnership
with Africabio, the lobby group dedicated to

the promotion of GMOs in Africa.

Regulations for the labelling of GM food are currently still not
enforced. The Department of Trade and Industry has been dragging its
heels to provide consumers with the right to choose. “However,
labelling laws will not assist consumers of maize meal as they have
absolutely no choice but to be forced fed with risky GM maize. Tiger
Brands, Premier and Pioneer are holding the health of South African
consumers ransom by their failure to provide non-GM alternatives,”
said Mayet.


Mariam Mayet 083 269 4309

Zakiyya Ismail 083 273 7304

More information available on www.acbio.org.za and easy to read
factsheets <http://www.acbio.org.za/activist/>

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ACB Team.