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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | Environmental 

Genetically Modified Food: We Are What We Eat!
email this pageprint this pageemail usTara Spears - PVNN
December 26, 2010



Greenpeace Guide provides answers to the questions about what you and your family should be consuming.
Ver en espańol (PDF)

Have you eaten genetically modified food? Do you know in which foods it can be found? Do you know what to do to avoid consuming them? Do you know its possible health effects?

These are the questions that this guide seeks to respond to a consumer audience who demand this information and is increasingly more interested in healthy eating.

Genetically Modified Food (GMO) in Mexico

96.5% of Mexican consumers ignore what are GMOs or don't know if you're eating and what foods, while 98 percent of Mexicans believes that companies must report their labels if their products contain GMOs.

Mexico imports from the United States over 6 million tons of corn each year, of which 45 percent is transgenic corn.

In Mexico, it is forbidden to sow transgenic corn because we are the center of origin of corn and is necessary to protect our varieties of Mexican maize transgenic contamination that may occur if the pollen from the GM maize crosses with our native and hybrid varieties.

However, permission has been granted for "noncommercial" planting transgenic soybean and cotton.

The health authority allows marketing for human consumption 31 GM soybeans, canola, corn, cotton, potatoes, tomato and alfalfa. These ingredients come into our diets without any control and without our express consent.

Consumers have the right to know and decide for themselves

According to the United Nations, the right to information is the first basic right of consumers. Also, that goods and services that companies offer timely, complete, clear and truthful information to consumers so they can choose what they want to buy. We are entitled to know whether the foods we purchase for our families contain ingredients or derivatives that are genetically modified, so that each person can decide whether to eat them or not.

This right is not guaranteed by the law of biosafety of genetically modified foods existing in Mexico (better known as Monsanto law), which only requires reporting on GMOs other "significant nutritian". This feature is vague and controversial and the industry can use this inaccuracy to evade their obligation to inform the consumer.

Beginning in 2006 two initiatives were presented in the Senate that established that the labelling of these products would be compulsory and well respected fully the legitimate and unquestionable right of individuals to know and decide what they eat.

What is a GM?

GM crops are bodies established in the laboratory with a technique that allows inserting genes from bacteria, plants or animals to crops such as corn and soybeans, to GMOs also genetically modified (GMO). These techniques enable scientists to enhance natural selection and evolution, to exchange genes between species that naturally could not cross it. Engineering applied to this creates "cut and paste" genes without control where and how many are pasted into the recipient organism and unless you know what unexpected effects can cause, it is not known whether or not these transgenic constructs are stable.

Once these new species are released to the environment or the food chain, there is no way to remove them. Given that in the long-term these crops produced on ecosystems and human health effects are unknown, they should not be grown nor used for consumption.

Why is it better to not eat GM?

Besides great risks for the environment, the main reason to avoid GMOs in food is great scientific uncertainty that exists regarding these products. To date, there have not been tests and studies necessary to ensure scientifically that consumption will not have harmful effects in the medium and long term.

The biotechnology industry, interested in selling these products, pointed out that there is no data to confirm damage to health, but there are no published scientific data that ensure that there will not be them. The lack of data does not mean no risk.

Experience with other technologies requires us to be cautious. An example is clear of pesticides and agro-toxics that were sold for 40 years as solution to various rural problems and stated that does not involve risks or cause damage to health. After decades without control, it was confirmed in causing multiple damage to the environment and health, which is why many of these substances are now prohibited, controlled or in the process of being withdrawn from the market.

In Mexico, the health authority strives to protect ourselves against health risks not performed in the investigation on GMOs: to authorize the consumption of these agencies, based on information presented by creative companies of transgenics interested in commercializing them.

By this irresponsibility in Mexico, nobody knows who are eating GMOs, or how and in what quantities. Consumers themselves are ignorant of what they have eaten, and in what quantities. Without this basic monitoring, it will be very difficult or impossible to document what happens with those who eat transgenic and what damages are caused to their health.

Scientific research on the safety of GMOs and their impact on Mexicans should be performed in Mexico in an independent, impartial manner and with a sense of public interest. As long as that scientific research is not carried out, consumers concerned about their health and the health of their family, can reject consuming GMOs.

Health and environmental risks

Nobody guarantees that consumption of GM is safe in the medium and long term health of consumers.

• Alteration or instability genes may lead to the production of new toxins.

• New protein produced by external gene may cause allergies.

The constant consumption of antibiotic markers in GMOs can cause resistance to these drugs.

GMOs may cause unwanted, unexpected effects. Recent studies have shown damage in rats and mice that consumed transgenic peas and corn.

Consumers worldwide are refusing to eat GM. Mexicans do not have to eat risky GM products which are rejected throughout Europe and China (among many others).

Risks to the environment are also very serious: GMOs may produce unexpected, unwanted and irreversible impacts on the environment as transgenic contamination of native and wild species, or transfer of genes from a variety of species, thus affecting many other organisms in the ecosystem.

It runs the risk of food that the environment may contaminate with GM, causing it not to be edible, as pharmacists or for industrial uses.

Transgenic crops create problems, not solve them

GMOs are no more than a new form of concentrated wealth in the hands of very few transnational biotechnology and agro-food like Monsanto, Syngenta (formerly Novartis), DuPont (Pioneer), Bayer Crop Science and Dow.

United States shows production losses in transgenic soybean of up to 7% compared to conventional soybean. In Mexico, GMOs are not produced by most of the Mexican farmers who have small plots of land planted with various crops (bean, bean, pumpkin, quelites, apart from corn), under environment variables, unsuitable for existing GMOs.

In addition, most Mexican peasants do not finance the technology package (designed for large surfaces of monoculture equipped with irrigation, machinery, fertilizers, herbicides) essential to make transgenic crops "highly productive".

According to the Victor M. Toledo agroecólogo, GMOs only could benefit a few agroindustrials, putting at risk more than 80 percent of farmers, all consumers and the environment.

GMOs do not solve the hunger. GMOs do not produce more or help the food sovereignty of the people. To actually end hunger in the world, a trading system is needed that is equitable and sustainable, as well as public policies that promote the capacity of each country to produce their own healthy food and distribute them with justice.

How can I avoid eating genetically modified?

The first suggestion in not eating GM is by preparing fresh food at home and avoiding the industrialized foods that may contain ingredients GM. This simple action can ensure a healthy diet and also avoid excess sugars, fats partially hydrogenated (trans), additives, colorants and conservatives containing industrialized food.

In the Mexican markets, you can buy fresh natural food products produced by hand and food preparations without GMOs.

The second suggestion is to seek and prefer organic food. Certification and organic denomination internationally recognized prohibits the use of genetically - modified or derived therefrom - in agriculture and livestock products. Organic farming also allows the use of hormones, pesticides and agrochemicals that leaves toxic residues in food.

Increasingly, more organic foods are sold in large supermarkets, offering such products from Aires de Campo, Vía Verde, and Members Mark organic brands. They are also available in various organic markets and ecological shops nationwide, which are listed in Greenpeace.

Consumption from small orchards, farms and communal indigenous land and peasant production can be organic. Environmental, social, networking of producers and entrepreneurs of responsible organizations created the label "Not free of GMOs" to identify in the market which are not organic agriculture products and those that are guaranteed to be free of GMOs. Search and prefer those products with the YES seal!

For the environment, the economy and health of all, there is nothing better than to eat what the country produces. But this can extend to food without GMOs options since Mexico has added several brands of food imported from Europe, Canada and Asia that have been classified as red or green according to public commitments and guarantees that these companies have given Greenpeace in their countries of origin.

In the Mexican market, it is possible to acquire food imported from the 25 countries that are members of the European Union, where (except cheese and meat) is required to inform the consumer if products contain GMOs, so to know if a product contains these ingredients, you can just read the label.

While the Mexican representatives and Senators support the compulsory labelling of GM, to which we are entitled, consumers can we protect themselves from transgenics by choosing companies with "Yes" in not using those foods with risky ingredients.

What foods can contain GMOs?

Mexico, until 2006, issued permits to 31 GM for maize, soybeans, potatoes, canola, tomato, cotton and alfalfa. In theory, no transgenic other than these can be sold or legally used for human consumption in Mexico, although the reality is that no Mexican authority deals with verifying what kind of GM's are imported and entering Mexico. This lack of oversight and Government control is urgent in certifying which companies do not use GMOs.

Foods containing ingredients derived from maize, soybean, canola, cotton, potato, tomato or alfalfa, can be considered free of GMOs.

Users need to read labels to verify if the foods contain any of the following ingredients that might be of GM origin:

• Soybean flour, protein, oils and fats ("vegetable fats"), emulsifiers(lecithin), fatty acids.

• Corn, in the form of flour, oil, starch*, syrup, high fructose, dextrose, maltodextrin, isomalt, sorbitol, caramel color.

• Cotton as from oil seed

• Canola oil.

* Some products listed as an ingredient which is a physical and chemical processing unrelated to GMOs modified starch.

These ingredients or derivatives are used in some products on sale in supermarkets, such as breads, baby food, beers, sweets, candies, chewing gum, soft drinks, sausages, snacks, beverages, milk powder, chocolate powder, confectionery, margarines, prepared foods, juices, jams, and pet food.

Not all products that use these ingredients are genetically modified, so it is important to distinguish between companies that have a clear policy to not use these genetically engineered ingredients and companies that are not willing to provide information on its use or undertake to not use them.

GM rice in Mexico?

In August, 2006, the American Government recognized those users with the GM experimental LL601 not approved for human consumption, which "escaped" inexplicably fields of experimentation to get unauthorized grains destined for sale, both inside and outside of the United States, with long grain rice contamination. Mexico is the main importer of rice from the United States, so there is serious risk of eating this illegal rice not studied or approved for human consumption in any country in the world. Until November, 2006, neither governmental or business measures had taken precautions to avoid the contaminated rice from being bought and sold in Mexico. The only way to avoid the risk of consuming rice contaminated with transgenics is preferred rice produced in Mexico that bears the stamp of the Mexican Council of rice.

What companies use transgenics?

Greenpeace Mexico has formally asked the food-producing companies listed in this guide for information about the use of genetically modified ingredients or derivatives in products sold to the Mexican public.

The list we offer corresponds to the nationally marketed food and has been prepared based on the answers and statements of the companies, collected by Greenpeace.

There are still many companies and products that Greenpeace will contact in the near future in order to provide information to consumers on the widest variety of food products sold Mexico that are missing in this guide.

To ensure the existence of GM-free food, we need your help as a consumer: Please support the campaign of Greenpeace by calling and writing companies producing food at the phone numbers that appear at the end of this guide or on the product labels. Asks for the information that you have the right and demand to not use GMOs in food purchases for your family.

Stay abreast of the updates and information on our internet page! Greenpeace

How to use this guide

Green List

Includes products whose manufacturers have provided written record as not using GMOs or their derivatives as ingredients in Mexico to Greenpeace.

Red List

Those manufacturers who have not responded to Greenpeace and do not provide assurances that their products do not contain GM imgredients or derivatives thereof, or have not expressed a commitment clear and without ambiguity that they do not use GMOs.

This way, you will find the brands that were positive with GM in laboratory tests and that we have no doubt about containing GMOs.

Oils:

· Crisol
· All of avocado, Sesame, hazelnut, olive, safflower and sunflower 100% pure
· Oleico


· Oil 1-2-3
· Capullo
· La Nińa
· La patrona
· Maceite
· Maravilla
· Mazola
· Primor


Baby Food:

· All the products of Gerber

· Enfapro
· Kindercal
· Miel Karo (Unilever)
· Nan (Nestlé)


Drinks:

· Lulú
· Nectasis
· Pascual Boing!


· Ades
· Bébere
· Clight
· CapriSun
· Clide
· Coca Cola
· Delaware Punch
· Enerplex (Sabormex)
· Fanta
· Florida 7
· Fresca
· Frisco
· Frut
· Gatorade
· Jugos del Valle
· Jumex
· Kool-Aid
· Limolin
· Manzana Lift
· Mirinda
· Nestea
· Pepsi
· Powerade
· Senzao
· SlimFast (Unilever)
· Soylé
· Sprite
· Tang


Snacks:

· BigMix (Barcel)
· Chicharrones (Barcel)
· Chip-otles (Barcel)
· Churritos (Barcel)
· Ondas (Barcel)
· Piquechos cronchers(Barcel)
· Quechitos cronchers (Barcel)
· Takis (Barcel)
· Tostachos (Barcel)
· Tronix (Barcel)
· Xplosivos cronchers (Barcel)
· Cheetos
· Chips (Bimbo)
· Doritos
· Golden Nuts (Bimbo)
· Mafer
· Planters (Kraft)
· Ruffles
· Sabritas
· Tostitos
· Tostilunch


Transnational paradox: Fritolay, belonging to the giant transnational PepsiCo Company, imports and sells at Superama the "Natural" snack line of optimum quality: baked without trans fats, conservatives without artificial flavors and certified organic blue maizes. Paradoxically, Sabritas, Mexican subsidiary company, has not responded to the request for information that Greenpeace on the use of GMOs in their products for sale at Mexico. Perhaps only some Mexicans deserve better quality food while most do not have even basic information about ingredients?

Chocolates:

· Choco Dillis
· Ferrero Fiesta
· Ferrero Prestige
· Ferrero Rocher
· Kinder Bueno
· Kindeer Chocolate
· Kinder Chocolate Maxi
· Kinder Delice
· Kinder Sorpresa
· Kinder Joy
· La Vaquita Wongs
· Mon Amour
· Nutella
· Raffaello


· Abuelita
· Cal-C-tose
· Carlos V
· Chocomilk
· Hershey’s
· Milo
· Nesquik


Meats:

· Bachoco
· Carnes Frías Fud
· Chimex
· Iberomex
· Oscar Mayer
· Salchichas Viva
· San Antonio
· San Rafael
· Tangamanga


Cereals:

· Amaranto Quali
· Cereal Quali flavors of limón, fresa y vainilla (lemon, strawberry & vanilla)
· Cereales Gullon
· Cereales Santiver
· La granola, and cereals made with oats, amaranth or other cereals not containing ingredients derived from soybeans and corn are a good choice to eat cereals without GMOs.


· All Bran (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran Orginal (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran Linaza (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran Yogurt fresa (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran Flakes Natural Original (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran barra natural (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran barra linaza (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran barra pasas (Kellogg’s)
· All Bran barra chocolate (Kellogg’s)
· Azucaradas (Maizoro)
· Basic 4 (Nestlé)
· Basix (Nestlé)
· Cereales Post (Kraft)
· Ciniminis (Nestlé)
· Cookie crisp (Nestlé)
· Corn Flakes (Kellogg’s)
· Corn Flakes (Maizoro) (Kellogg’s)
· Extra (Kellogg’s)
· Extra tentación (Kellogg’s)
· Extra delicia (Kellogg’s)
· Fibrauno (Nestlé)
· Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)
· Froot Loops barra (Kellogg’s)
· Go! (Kellogg’s)
· Gold (Nestle)
· Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s)
· Kellness Granola (Kellogg’s)
· Kellness Muslix chocolate (Kellogg’s)
· Kellness Muslix tradicional (Kellogg’s)
· Lucky Charms (Nestlé)
· Madagascar (Kellogg’s)
· Manzana All Bran flakes (Kellogg’s)
· Nesquick (Nestlé)
· Nutridía amaranto (Kellogg’s)
· Nutridía chocolate (Kellogg’s)
· Nutridía linaza integral (Kellogg’s)
· Nutridía yogurt (Kellogg’s)
· Corn Flakes (Nestlé)
· Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)
· Count Chocula (Nestlé)
· Crusli (Kellogg’s)
· Crusli barra (Kellogg’s)
· Chocapic (Nestlé)
· Cheerios(Nestlé)
· ChocoKrispies (Kellogg’s)
· ChocoKrispies barra (Kellogg’s)
· ChocoKrispies instant (Kellogg’s)
· Chocoleche (Kellogg’s)
· Choco Zucaritas (Kellogg’s)
· Choco Zucaritas con malvabiscos (Kellogg’s)
· Chokos (Kellogg’s)
· Eggo (Kellogg’s)
· Eggo waffles casero (Kellogg’s)
· Eggo waffles mantequilla (Kellogg’s)
· Eggo waffles minis
· NutriK (Kellogg’s)
· Nutrigrain Ciruela pasa (Kellogg’s)
· Nutrigrain Ciruela pasa (Kellogg’s)
· Nutrigrain Fresa (Kellogg’s)
· Nutrigrain Manzana (Kellogg’s)
· Nutrigrain Pińa (Kellogg’s)
· Princesas (Kellogg’s)
· PoohHunnyBs (Kellogg’s)
· Pop tarts canela (Kellogg’s)
· Pop tarts chocolate
· Pop tarts fresa
· Raisins All bran flakes (Kellogg’s)
· Rice krispies (Kellogg’s)
· Quaker (PepsiCo)
· Trix (Nestlé)
· Trix con yogurt (Nestlé)
· Starwars (Kellogg’s)
· Wheat Bran (Maizoro)
· Zucaritas (Kellogg’s)
· Zucaritas Instant (Kellogg’s)
· Zucosos (Nestlé)


Beer:

· Cerveza Cosaco

· Carta Blanca
· Corona
· Estrella
· Indio
· Modelo
· Sol
· Superior
· Tecate
· XX Lager


Frozen Foods:

· La Huerta
· Nutrifresco
· Nutriverde
· Nutrisa Ice Cream
· Santa Clara Ice Cream


· Chepina Peralta refrigerated foods
· Häagen Dazs Ice Cream
· Helados Holanda
· Frizy Ice Cream(Nestlé)
· Crunch Ice Cream (Nestlé)


Sweets, jams and desserts:

· Aciditas
· ACME powder
· ACME líquid
· D’Gari gelitans
· Minas de Frutas
· Spider Blast
· Spider Legs
· Sussly Plus
· Sussly Light
· Sussly cubos de azúcar
· Sussly azúcar mascabado
· Tamborines
· Tamboreta
· Tama Chew
· Tamarrific
· Tic Tac


· Canderel
· Clemente Jacques marmalade
· Equal
· Lala Flan
· Yomi Gelatins (Lala)
· Jell-O
· Kraft marmelade
· Laposse
· McCormick Marmelade
· Marinela (Bimbo)
· Nutra Sweet
· Pronto
· Milk Products by Coronado (Bimbo)
· Ricolino (Bimbo)
· Sonrics


Canned or preserved products:

· Del Fuerte
· Embasa
· La Gloria


· Clemente Jacques (Sabormex)
· Herdez
· La Costeńa
· Ragú (Unilever)
· Mostaza Kraft


Flours, tortillas and beans:

· Tortillas Nuestro maíz (corn)
· Tortillas y más
· Verde Valle
· Tres Estrellas Rice Flour
· Quali Flour of amaranth


· Hot cakes Aunt Jemima
· Hot cakes Pronto
· Hot cakes Tres Estrellas
· Maizena (Unilever)
· Maseca
· Minsa
· La Sierra Beans (Sabormex)


Milk Products:

· Heinz Organic Mayonaise
· Mayonaise Prepared with Olive Oil
· Lee Kum y Konig


· Búfalo (Herdez)
· Catsup Clemente Jacques (Sabormex)
· Dońa Chonita
· Dońa María (Herdez)
· French’s
· Hellman’s (Unilever)
· McCormick’s Mayonaise (Herdez)
· La Costeńa Mayonaise
· Kikkoman Soy Sauce


Bread and biscuits:

· Filler Bread
· MacMa
· Santiver Biscuits
· Gullon Biscuits
· Quali Cinnamon Flavor Amaranth Biscuits
· Casado Biscuits & Breads


· Bimbo
· El Globo (Bimbo)
· Empanizador Kellogg’s
· Lonchibon (Bimbo)
· Kraker Bran Biscuits
· Lara Biscuits
· Marian Biscuits
· Nabisco Biscuits (Kraft)
· Oreo
· Ritz Crackers(Kraft)
· Gamesa Biscuits(PepsiCo)
· Poptarts (Kellogg’s)
· Tía Rosa
· Suandy (Bimbo)
· Wonder


Soups and Pastas:

· La Moderna
· Nissin, all flavors except Tlalpeńo
· Cora Pasta
· Pinerollo
· Sopainstant (Gallina Blanca)
· Gallina Blanca
· Avecrem (Gallina Blanca)
· Frescavida (Gallina Blanca)
· El Pavo (Gallina Blanca)
· Santiver Soup
· Gallo Soup
· Gullon Soup


· Knorr Soup(Unilever)
· Maggi
· Maruchan
· Nissin, Tlalpeńo Flavor
· Rosa Blanca


Greenpeace will continue to verify the situation of the companies, therefore the data contained in this guide could change depending on the responses of companies and their production decisions.

The updated information on this guide and "No Transgenics at my Table!" campaign can be seen here: Greenpeace

What can I do to support "No Transgenics at my Table!"?

• Reproduce and disseminate this information, share it with your friends and family, or print it directly from the Greenpeace website.

• Be an active consumer, make calls to the companies, write letters and e-mails, read the labels in the supermarket and do not buy GM products.

• Take part in the Greenpeace network. You can also participate as a ciber activist, volunteer or become a partner and make a donation.

Exercise your power as a consumer! The strength of your dollars can achieve a healthy, reliable and secure food for all!

Translated for PVNN by Lois Lane



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