Watermelons and GM labelling

Watermelon season is fast coming to an end, and we have some of the last available this week. From a certified organic farm in the Karoo, it will only be available for the next few weeks.

The rind, the white part close to the skin, which most of us discard, is used as a vegetable in some parts of the world, and can be stir-fried, as well as juiced along with the red flesh to make the juice less sweet.

They’re even good for rescue from desert islands – a Vietnamese myth tells of a man banished to an island by a king. He sees a bird dropping black seeds and grows them, producing watermelons. After feasting on a few, he decided to write his name and directions to the island on some others, and sees them floating across the seas.

Merchants find them and wanting more of the sweet juicy fruit, are soon arriving at the island trading all sorts of other produce. The king, impressed by his resourcefulness, invites him back and his isolation on the island comes to an end.

GM labelling
Today is the last day to comment on the draft regulations of the new Consumer Protection Act. While many of the sections are to be welcomed, the section on the labelling of genetically modified food is weak. In its favour, it will require labelling of all products containing genetically modified maize, soya and imported canola oil if they make up more than 5% of the total product. However, this threshold is far too high. While your favourite packet of genetically modified maize chips will be labelled, many other products containing the ingredients won’t be. The European threshold is only 0.9%, and the cost to test for 5% and 0.9% is similar, so there’s no good reason for such a high threshold.

Even worse, only those three genetically modified products need be labelled. So GM crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, rice or papaya, common elsewhere in the world, may end up here, unlabelled. And any new genetically modified crops, such as the much touted genetically modified salmon, will be unlabelled too.

You can respond at www.labelgmfoods.org.za – remember, today is the last day to sign the petition.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order head on over to www.ethical.org before the site closes this week on Tuesday, 2pm