Genetically Enhanced Food Sold Unmarked

The Milouda labs are qualified to conduct genetic testing, which can elucidate whether foodstuffs made from vegetable matter have undergone genetic alteration.

Amiram Cohen
Amiram Cohen

Do you know what you're eating? You may well not. Agricultural products that underwent genetic engineering are sold in Israel without any marking to inform consumers, according to Milouda Quality Control Laboratories, which was testing food products containing soybeans.

The Milouda labs are qualified to conduct genetic testing, which can elucidate whether foodstuffs made from vegetable matter have undergone genetic alteration. The tests found that some baked goods, packaged schnitzel products and meat substitutes sold in stores around Israel contained soybeans that were essentially genetically modified organisms.

Milouda commented that its main function is to test foodstuffs slated for export to Europe. The European Union's member countries have completely banned most genetically modified foods, which has been a sore point in the bloc's relations with the United States. The Americans feel this European queasiness is a violation of free trade agreements.

Advocates of better agriculture through genetic manipulation say there is no evidence that consuming genetically modified plants is harmful to health.

Be that as it may, the Europeans point out that these issues have not been tested over time, and they don't want to take the risk.

In the U.S., on the other hand, about 70% of soybean crops and a high proportion of corn crops are genetically modified - for instance, to be resistant to pests. There is no prohibition on marketing such substances.

In Israel, there is no regulation requiring products that contain genetically modified organisms to be marked, whether the food is for humans or animals.

Genetic engineering isn't the same as merely grafting a tree branch onto another species. It is an advanced technology that involves transferring genes from one organism to another, in order to confer desirable characteristics encoded in these genes on the target organism.

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