WHAT EXACTLY DOES GMO MEAN?


WHAT IS GMO?
You may have heard the terms GMO or have seen product labelling marked as ‘GMO Free’ or ‘non-GMO’ but what exactly is it?

GMO stands for genetically modified organism. A genetically modified organism is an organism that has had its DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering. GMOs have been altered with DNA from other organisms be it bacteria, plant, virus or animal. Some foods are also genetically modified. Foods derived from genetically modified organisms are called ‘GM foods’.

GM foods and ingredients contain novel DNA or novel protein. Novel DNA and novel protein mean DNA or protein which is different in chemical structure from DNA or protein in equivalent food that has not been produced using genetic engineering.

Do we grow GM foods in Australia?
Three genetically modified crops are grown in Australia: cotton, canola and safflower.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) regulate the use of GM products in food. All GM foods and ingredients must undergo a safety assessment and be approved before they can be sold in Australia and New Zealand. Mandatory labelling requirements are also required for GM foods (FSANZ). This ensures that only assessed and approved GM foods enter our food supply.

How do I know if my food contains GM ingredients?
You will find the statement ‘genetically modified’ on food labels either next to the name of the food (e.g. ‘genetically modified soy beans’), or in association with the specific GM ingredient in the ingredient list (e.g. ‘soy flour (genetically modified)’).

If the food is unpackaged, such as a fruits and vegetables, then the information must be displayed with the food.

What GM foods are available in Australia?
Many of the processed foods in our stores include imported GM ingredients. The main sources of GM foods include:
  • Imported GM soya - Potato chips, margarine, mayonnaise, crackers, soy tofu, soy milk, soy flour, 
    soy lecithin, soybean oil, pastries, chocolate.
     
  • Imported GM corn - Corn chips, corn oil, corn flour, corn syrup. Corn foods with the kernel.
    Processed corn starch is a sweetener in drinks, sweets, bread, cakes, breakfast cereal, 
    sauces, gravy mixes and syrups. 
  • GM canola - Fried foods, baked products and snack food. 
  • Imported GM potatoes - Potatoes in snack foods, processed potato products and other processed food. 
  • Cottonseed oil from GM cotton - Used for frying in the food industry (e.g. for fish and chips),
    snack foods, baked foods, mayonnaise and salad dressings. 

Many of the foods containing imported GM ingredients are unlikely to be labelled as containing GM ingredients. 
GM foods that do not contain any novel DNA or novel protein,
 and do not have an altered characteristic, 
do not require GM labelling.
  

These foods are typically:
 
  • GM oils, sugars and starches –Highly refined foods no longer contain the GM protein, according to FSANZ. 
    This includes corn syrup, cottonseed and canola oil. 
  • GM food additives or processing aids. 
  • Meat, dairy and eggs from animals fed GM feed. 
  • Food bought from cafes, restaurants, takeaway shops and vending machines
  • GM flavourings in a concentration of less than 0.1%. 
  • Unintentionally present GM ingredients of less than 1%. 

Are GMOs safe? 
Without credible independent long-term studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. 
Increasingly, people are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to avoid 
consuming GM foods. The best way to avoid consuming any GM foods is to stick 
to
 consuming locally produced whole foods. 
 
Written by Emilee, Nutritionist (BHSc Nut Med) 


NON GMO | GLUTEN FREE | VEGAN | NO FILLERS I 100% NATURAL