ACB releases investigative report on SA bread industry. Finds violation of SA’s GM labeling law.

bread2The African Centre for Biosafety, (ACB), has published a report investigating the collusion between South Africa’s bread industry and food producers. Almost all the breads tested by ACB was found to contain unacceptable high levels of , (GM), soya ranging from 20.46% – 90.09%. Except for one brand, the labels did not reflect the requirements of the Consumer in effect since 2011. The law requires that South African be informed of GM content where that content exceeds 5%. The consumer also mandates that food producers, importers and packagers are required by the Consumer (2008) to label food containing GM ingredients accordingly.

The report provides the following summary and can be accessed here:

The wheat-to-bread value chain is highly consolidated and controlled primarily by four companies: Tiger Brands, Premier Foods, Pioneer Foods and Foodcorp. Three of these companies, Tiger Brands, Premier Foods and Pioneer Foods also dominate the market for maize meal.

This value chain feeds into a concentrated food retail market, primarily controlled by Shoprite/Checkers, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Spar.

In a country where more than 50% of people do not have regular access to food, Tiger Brands and Pioneer Foods made a profit of R2.441 billion in 2013 just from their baking divisions. The Competition Commission has previously found that Tiger Brands, Premier
Foods, Pioneer Foods and Foodcorp colluded to fix the price of bread.

South Africa’s leading bread brands contain high levels of Monsanto’s (GM) soya. These brands include those of Woolworths, Spar, Checkers and Pick n Pay white breads along with the Albany, Blue Ribbon and Sunbake bread brands, belonging to Tiger Brands, Premier Foods and Foodcorp respectively.

Bread is South Africa’s second most important , after maize. The maize value chain is already entirely genetically modified, with its milling sector similarly controlled by Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods and Premier Foods. The maize value chain feeds into the same concentrated food retail sector.

Bread producers (Tiger Brands, Premier Foods and Foodcorp) and retailers (Pick n Pay, Checkers, Woolworths and Spar) are not labeling their bread as containing , as required by the Consumer (2008) and are deceiving South African

All grown in South Africa is liberally sprayed with that contain (the active ingredient) and other chemicals (adjuvants). ‘Roundup’, Monsanto’s flagship -based , is the most popular brand in South Africa, though a multitude of other brands are available.

has been linked to increased risk of chronic , birth defects in humans and animals and spontaneous abortions. Recent samples of urine and breast milk taken by the Moms across America organisation show an accumulation of in breast milk. Research has found some of the adjuvants used with to be even more toxic than itself. Residues of and its adjuvants can remain in food long after the harvest.

Both consolidation of the bread industry and the increasingly genetic modification of the country’s staple foods undermine food security in South Africa. Consolidation shuts out smaller players, including small scale farmers and millers, while genetically modified crops are cultivated in large-scale mono-cropping, commercialized farming systems, heavily reliant on high irrigation,  and use. This type of farming has negative environmental consequences and is socially unjust.



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    One thought on “ACB releases investigative report on SA bread industry. Finds violation of SA’s GM labeling law.

    • May 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Please could we have a report on brown breads, including the premixes supplied to the industry for smaller bakers? I believe your ongoing testing of various foods is now essential to guide consumers in really avoiding GMO foods, thus helping to turn the average consumer into an effective activist.

      I am now on a search for heirloom maize seed, and non-GMO maize cultivars, in order to grow maize seed and maintain a non-GMO maize seedbank. If you have any resources in this regard I would be most grateful for the info. It is not enough to protest GMO seed and food. We must actively farm the alternative. I do not consider organic farming techniquest to be the only alternative to GMO, which is a mistake the anti-GMO sector is making. Even conventionally farmed non-GMO practises are a valid strategy against GMO, and we also need to develope a new no-till agriculture that does not use Roundup. Obviously organic practices have any advantages but non-certified organically farmed food is the way to go.

      If you can link me to any ANTI-GMO agricultural researchers and projects, I would be grateful.
      THANK YOU for your essential work. Please keep it up. I believe Monsanto can soon be trashed in this country.

      Jeremy Acton


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