GM-free shopping guide launched with support of a number of supermarkets and manufacturers

Posted by Isobel Drake on 24th November 2008

Australian culinary icon Margaret Fulton today launched the ‘Canola Edition’ of the Greenpeace True Food Guide, which aims to help consumers avoid buying genetically engineered (GE) food products. Ms Fulton, widely renowned for her food writing, likened the major companies pushing GM (Genetically Modified) to Adolf Hitler, according to reports.

The launch, at Sydney’s Bird Cow Fish restaurant, was supported by a number of leading figures in the food industry.

Prominent supermarket brands Coles, Aldi and IGA Metcash, high users of canola oil Goodman Fielder, Unilever and Peerless foods, and some of the biggest consumer food brands in Australia including Kellogs, Heinz, Arnott’s, Carman’s Fine Foods, King Island Dairy and Lilydale, are listed as “green” in the True Food Guide as they have indicated they will “actively avoid ingredients from GE crops”.

“This is the first time so many food brands have pledged their commitment to use only natural non-GE produce,” Ms Fulton advised. “It is so reassuring to see how far we have come from the launch of the first True Food Guide in 2002. It is fantastic that GE-free shopping can now be easy and affordable.”

“They’re going to control the world,” she claimed, according to AAP reports. “We thought Hitler was a bad fella … these guys could show him a thing or two and they’re creeping up on us quietly without guns or anything like that, but the poison is there.”

Jackie Healing, Coles Quality Manager, said that Australia’s second largest supermarket chain was keen to avoid GM ingredients in their private label goods. “Coles developed its current range of house brands to exclude genetically modified ingredients after we recognised our customers’ concerns about the technology and its use in the food they purchase from us,” she stated.

The companies which have not pledged to avoid GM or GE food are highlighted in red in the book.

“The timely and positive response from a majority of the food industry means that although GE canola will enter our food chain unlabelled, we can still avoid eating GE food,” Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner, Michelle Sheather, proclaimed. “This should send a clear message to our food regulator and the government that there is no future in GE food; we need to keep GE food and crops out of Australia.”

A number of chefs, scientists, nutritionists and leading groups, including the Public Health Association of Australia, have joined Greenpeace in asking for labelling of all GE food – including oils and products from animals (milk eggs, meat, honey) fed on GE feed.

Australia’s first genetically modified canola is currently being harvested in New South Wales and Victoria, after a moratorium banning GM Canola was lifted in the two states earlier this year. Agriculture Minister Tony Bourke last week outlined his belief that GM food could play a positive role in coping with a possible food shortage in the years ahead.