Death card Tarot - Monsanto
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Dozens of crops genetically engineered to survive herbicide spray are being used in Australian food without the knowledge of consumers.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has approved 43 varieties of genetically modified canola, corn, potato, rice, soybean and sugarbeet for human consumption.

But food items do not have to be labelled as GM if the ingredients are highly processed into oils, starches or sugars.

Meat, milk or eggs produced from animals fed GM crops do not have to be labelled either.

Food Standards has given the green light to a new strain of GM canola and is considering a new application for GM soybeans to be used in Australian food.

The regulator has ruled that GM canola produced by global agribusiness Monsanto is "considered to be as safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional canola cultivars".

"No public health and safety concerns were identified in this assessment," Food Standards says in its assessment, released for public comment this week.

Comment: Canola oil is highly profitable for the agribusiness industry which cares little for the health and well-being of humanity. Canola Oil: A Product of Food Technology

"For human consumption, seed from canola is mostly processed into oil, which, because of processing, contains negligible amounts of any protein or DNA.

"Oil from (the Monsanto canola) would therefore be unlikely to require labelling (although) seed used in bakery products would require labelling."

The Food Standards assessment states that canola is used for stockfood and as an ingredient in cooking oils, margarine, shortening, mayonnaise, sandwich spreads and coffee whiteners.

Canola is the third-largest source of vegetable oil in the world after soybean and palm oil, and is the most common oilseed crop grown in Australia.

The Food Standards assessment says field trials found the herbicide residue in the Monsanto canola seed to be "low". Its novel GM protein, derived from a soil bacterium, is "unlikely to be toxic or allergenic to humans".

Gene Ethics executive director Bob Phelps yesterday called on federal and state health ministers to introduce mandatory labelling on all GM foods, including oils and sugars, and meat, milk or eggs from animals fed GM crops.

"All new and untried foods and food ingredients should be labelled so that shoppers can make an informed decision whether or not to purchase and eat them," Mr Phelps said.