Another long weekend, and Biowatch’s case

We had a phenomenal response to our pet food offering last week. For those who missed out, a reminder that we’ll only be offering this every second week at present, so you’ll need to wait until next week to stock up.

Being a long (and for some of us, very long!) weekend, many of our suppliers are taking it easy, so we’re a little short of stock this week. Regulars not available include eggs, Zeekoegat goats dairy and Organic Alive’s bread, oats, sunflower seeds, Rapadura sugar, wholewheat flour and white flour.

Hopefully we’ll be back with our full line up next week.

There are signs that the South African situation on genetically modified foods is changing for the better. The major supermarket chains in particular, under pressure from consumers, are starting to change their tune, and not simply pass the buck to government, who to date have been blindly accepting everything the biotech companies have been telling them. Pick ‘n Pay have recently announced that they will not stock the government-backed GM potato until they receive conclusive evidence that it’s safe.

In the past, government rubber-stamping was enough, in spite of the doubts. Now, thanks to consumer pressure, there’s a request for the product to be demonstrated to be safe first. If this is done honestly, we will need to see some independent trials, and not just the industry-led ones we’ve been fed so far.

Other big news on the GMO front is that Biowatch, the NGO that took on, and won, against the industry might of biotech company Monsanto, are still fighting to overturn the ruling that they’re liable for R100 000 in legal fees, in spite of their victory granting them and the public the right to information on GM crops in South Africa. The ruling would effectively bankrupt them, and prevent any other groups filing legal action on behalf of the public, due to the financial risk. Judgement was due yesterday, but has been deferred. We wish them all the best, as the right of us as the public to access relevant and important information is at stake.

Besides the safety issue, there’s of course the aspect that GM crops lead to corporate control of our food supply, and are certainly not of benefit to the small-scale farmer who provides so much of our diversity. Rest assured that the Ethical Co-op (to the best of our knowledge!) does not offer any genetically-modified products.

For our Northern suburbs customers, we now have a new collection point. This is Carla Cole, of 115 Pentz Drive, Flamingovlei, Tableview. Please contact if you have any queries. We hope you’ll find this much more convenient.

A reminder that you can comment on these, or any other issues here on our blog. To order, head on over to

The Co-op team

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Jo

    As someone with more than a passing knowlege in genetics, I get somewhat upset about the whole GMO debacle. I consider myself very environmentally aware, try to save the planet everyday and buy organic whenever I can. But, and here's a big but, I don't believe all GMOs are the devil incarnate. Africa is a continent faced with extreme drought and only a small percentage of arable land, and I believe that GMOs are the answer to the famines facing us. It's all very fine and well to sit here on our organic high-horses while half the continent starves. We should be doing all we can to make crops more productive in our harsh environment. I'm not advocating willy-nilly genetic tampering, not by any means, but the scientists working on food technology are going in the right direction. All I'm asking is: be an informed consumer. Read, learn. Be green, be organic, but don't demonise something that could save the lives of millions of people not fortunate enough to be able to order organic produce online just because you don't know anything about it.

  2. Ian

    I agree that GMO's are not the devil incarnate. The technology may be beneficial, and geneticists have a positive contribution to play. However, the motivation for GM, and it's implementation, is entirely to serve the interests of biotech companies. The vested interests, dirty tricks, covering up of contrary research, infiltration into government positions and suppression of opposition, all mean that science takes a back to finance. Until GM, like other beneficial technologies, is opened up, made more transparent, and used for the benefit of people, I'll be highly suspicious, especially with the associated risks. Most importantly, it's nonsense to say Africa needs GMO's to protect it from famine. Famine occurs because of violence, poor farming techniques, bad planning, lack of capital to cover for the bad years, etc. None of these are helped by GMO's. Having to purchase seed each year instead of saving the strong, successful, locally adapted crop from the year before is the antithesis of good farming practices. I've written about this topic here and here on my blog, and would welcome any comments.