Say NO to Genetically Modified (GM) Food

Our Nutrition Expert, Janella Purcell, explains why you should consider saying no to Genetically Modified food. 

As it stands canola and cotton are the only genetically modified food crops produced in Australia, but…many other GM foods can be imported and used as an ingredient in packaged foods. Refined foods with GM ingredients do not need to be labelled as containing GM products and it looks like soon GMO foods will be allowed in certified organic foods - as apparently they are natural. This means not only will we need to look for organic but now the label should also read ‘GMO free’. OMG!

GMO Foods have been linked to -
  • Toxic and allergic reactions
  • Infertility
  • Digestive disorders
  • Autism
  • Gluten intolerance and
  • Numerous other health complaints that have been on the rise since genetically modified organisms were introduced.

 “It appears there is a direct correlation between GMO’s and autism.” --Arden Anderson, MD, PhD, MPH

GM Crops Currently Grown in Australia

Canola - GM canola, modified for herbicide tolerance, was approved for commercial production in Australia in 2003. Canola oil is used in margarine-type spreads, dips and as an ingredient in plenty of tinned and snack foods. Canola meal is also often used in stock feed.

Cotton - We’ve been commercially growing GM cotton since 1996, making it insect resistant, herbicide tolerant or both. The seeds of the cotton plant are crushed to produce cotton oil, which is widely used for cooking. Cottonseed meal is also used in stock-feed, so the meat you’re eating is now contaminated. And how about tampons? Make sure you buy them certified organic. Why not consider getting organic or at least eucalyptus or hemp sheets and underwear?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) allows manufacturers to use a wide range of GM food ingredients imported from overseas. These include specific GM varieties of soybeans, corn, rice, potatoes and sugar beet (a cousin of beetroot).

GM soybeans are now used in many processed foods, such as bread, spreads, baby formula, protein powder, pastries, chocolate, potato chips, margarine and mayonnaise. Soy lecithin (additive 322) is commonly used as an emulsifier in spreads, cakes and confectionery. Soybean meal is often used in stock feed, particularly for pigs and poultry and in supplements for dairy cattle.

GM corn products can be corn chips, oil, corn flour or corn syrup; used in snack foods, fried foods and confectionery. It is also used for cattle feed.

GM potatoes are used in processed products such as snack foods. However fresh GM potatoes cannot be sold in Australia.

GM sugar beet can and is used as sugar in some imported processed foods.

Australia is now trialing GM wheat, pineapple, papayas, barley and sugarcane. These products like other GM crops have been modified for insect resistance, herbicide tolerance, color, oil production, and sugar composition, flowering and fruit development. Gene technology research is now happening in Australia on bananas, rice and corn.

GM food products on sale in Australia and New Zealand – either as a whole food or as an ingredient in a processed food – must have their GM status identified if introduced genetic material or protein is present in the final food. However, there are exceptions -

- Foods where GM ingredients are highly refined, such as cooking oils, margarine, sugars, starches, chocolate, baked goods. Many processed foods fall into this category.

- Foods made at bakeries, restaurants and takeaways.

- Foods from animals that are fed GM feed.

- GM labelling laws allow companies to include up to one percent of GM organisms in food without labelling it GM, as long as the GM is there “unintentionally” or by accident.

[Wheat itself is not a genetically modified organism (but it’s next on the list), but evidence suggests that other frequently consumed foods - such as soy and corn - may help explain the recent increase in gluten-related disorders. (GM foods are designed to blow the insects stomach up.)]

The best way to avoid GMO's is to consult the or a download a free iPhone app’ like ‘Shop Ethical’ or Shop No GMO. Look for products with either the “Non-GMO Project Verified” or the “Certified Organic” seal. Avoid ingredients derived from the foods most likely to be genetically modified. These include soy, corn, sugar beets, cottonseed, canola, sugar, papaya from Hawaii or China, zucchini, and yellow squash.

In Good Health and Happiness,


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