Some Genetically Modified Terms to Know

Credit: badmanproduction-iStock-Thinkstock
Credit: badmanproduction-iStock-Thinkstock

Shared via African Centre of Biosafety, who are committed to dismantling inequalities in the food and agriculture system in Africa and believe in peoples’ right to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): Any organism whose genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. In agriculture, the majority of GMOs are crops that have had genes added to them that enable an organism to tolerate certain chemicals, or added genes found in soil bacteria that enable the organism to produce certain proteins that are toxic to insect pests.

Glyphosate: A chemical that is the active ingredient in many glyphosate-based herbicides. Glyphosate is considered a broad-spectrum herbicide because its mode of action inhibits a metabolic pathway that is present in all plant life, as well as in some fungi and bacteria.

Glyphosate-based herbicides: Herbicides that contain the active ingredient glyphosate. Herbicide: A type of pesticide specifically designed to kill weeds, i.e. a formulation containing an active ingredient plus adjuvants.

Herbicide resistance: This occurs when weeds naturally develop resistance to a herbicide over time due to long-term exposure. Glyphosate-resistant weeds are a major problem in the USA.

Herbicide tolerance (HT): This occurs when a plant has been genetically modified to tolerate the application of certain chemical active ingredients. The vast majority of herbicide tolerant plants are tolerant of glyphosate.

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Sonia Mountford

Sonia Mountford lived as an expat in the Middle East for a number of years and enjoyed travelling and exposure to third and first world cultures. Her interest in food security began while visiting in Sri Lanka after floods and discovering the politics around Food Aid. As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member, she spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims. Although her interests range from food politics to toxins in our food, including harmful ingredients in processed foods and Big Food influence; she soon came to realize that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason she spends much of her time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and concerns in production methods with farmers. Passionate about nutritional food security she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. She is an ambassador for SOIL, BEES and healthy WATER. Mountford started EATegrity ( “Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain” in 2015. Her aim is create greater consumer awareness about the food chain and to encourage transparency in the South African food industry.

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