Animal Genes in Soy is Unacceptable

Pig genes have been inserted into soy beans and are now approved to be grown in Argentina, without any concern for cross-contamination, rendering them unacceptable for vegans, vegetarians, Muslims and Jews. In recent news from GE Free NZ the humble soy plant, having already been spliced to be Round Up Ready, has now been spliced with animal genes! Not just pig genes but cow genes have also been approved for use.

“This new soy plant has created an entirely new species, plants with animal genes can no longer be considered plants. Many people from religious and ethical backgrounds would find this soy hard to swallow,” said Media Spokesperson for the Vegan Society, Claire Insley. “Many cultures see deep problems in mixing genes between plants and animals, as it goes against the natural order of things. Selective breeding cannot put animal genes into plants. For vegans and vegetarians, it is deeply problematic for ethical reasons. It is high time that GE was properly regulated, and we must be vigilant about allowing any products from this new soy into Aotearoa!”

Blanket Approvals and Poor Regulation

The USDA has approved Moolec’s genetically engineered (GE) soybean product which comprises 26.6% pork myoglobin protein and contains bacterial genes resistance to antibiotics. Moolec, a subsidiary of BioCeres, is also seeking approval to engineer beef genes into peas. The reasons for doing so are to potentially improve the taste, texture, nutrition, flavour, and colour of meat alternatives.

A precedent was set whereby GM soy was deemed to be “substantially the same as” non-GM soy and thus was not required to undertake any further food safety considerations. There is a valid argument that as the animal protein genes have been inserted to improve taste etc of the final product, it would seem that the soy bean has in fact been “substantially” changed. As such this is a human food safety issue for everyone.

Deforestation is a Huge Driver of Climate Change

The destruction of the Amazon to grow GE soy to feed beef cattle is already causing untold problems for indigenous farmers, with the increased use of pesticides, which destroy the soil bacteria. The Amazon rainforest is poised to tip over into savannah, which will really ramp up the climate chaos.

The potential for cross contamination of GE soy into other soy plants will mean future generations may be unable to revert back to old varieties. It is not possible to know what problems this may bring up.

The best way to avoid GE soy in New Zealand is to buy organic soy beans from Australia or identity preserved non-GMO soy beans. Officially there are no GE soy products available in NZ, however the lack of regulation overseas may mean that soy products from North America contain GE soy. With GE soy not being labelled in the Americas, it may be impossible to know what is in your soy products if they are grown or manufactured there.

 

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