This is the only time you’ll hear me say this: Don’t eat eggs… At least for the time being until the whole egg scandal has blown over.
The same goes for any egg-containing product that is not organic or produced locally.
Not egg-sactly safe
By now you must be well aware that four UK supermarkets — Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Waitrose — have withdrawn egg products from their shelves as it emerged that 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms were contaminated with the pesticide, fipronil. Products that have been withdrawn include egg salads, sandwiches and egg sandwich fillers.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that these products have not been withdrawn due to food safety concerns, but rather because fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals.
The FSA added that it is committed to ensuring that food is safe, and that UK consumers have food they can trust.
Commenting on the scandal, Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion egg processors said: “As we approach Brexit, shoppers are growing increasingly concerned about the ingredients used in manufactured food and now more than ever want and deserve transparency on food packaging.”
Jones has a fair point. We do have a right to know exactly what ends up on our dinner plates and a proper standardised food labelling system is the only way to ensure our peace of mind.
With Brexit just around the corner, it is the FSA’s duty to be transparent about all pesticides used on the food we eat and also to be very clear about the government’s position on genetically modified (GM) foods. While pesticides like fipronil can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness, the health and environmental risks of GM foods can be equally detrimental… if not more!
GM foods have been shown to produce new foodborne toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies… and there have been no long-term safety studies to determine the risks of GM food consumption on human health.
In addition, GM crops are treated with specific herbicides like Roundup (mostly manufactured by the biotech company, Monsanto) that have been shown to harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. GM crops and herbicides also eliminate the habitat for monarch butterflies and are believed to be the main reason why bees are slowly becoming extinct.
Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed that it is not possible to guarantee the safety of all GM foods.
For decades, the EU has taken a hard stand against genetically modified foods. In fact, only one GM crop has ever been approved in Europe. It’s a type of maize with a built-in resistance to a weevil (a type of beetle), called the European corn borer. The only farmers growing this GM maize are primarily in Spain where the weevils are a problem.
Many now argue that Brexit offers the UK an opportunity to take better advantage of GM food production and recently UK ministers made it clear that as part of the preparations for Brexit, the government was looking at possible future arrangements for the regulation of genetically modified organisms. And it seems that first on the GM menu would be tomatoes and blight-resistant potatoes.
Now, I’m not technophobic and I believe that if advances can be made to improve human life and health without damaging the environment or posing any health risks, then we should embrace them! However, now more than ever we should be vigilant against the risks new technologies might pose to health and the environment. And since Britain now has the opportunity to make its own rules and laws, consumers must demand that these protect them on all levels.
The bottom line: If our food is not organic, or when a product has been doused to death with herbicides or pesticides, or injected with growth hormones and excessive antibiotics, it should be noted clearly on all food products found on British supermarket shelves.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Brexit will flood the UK with genetic-modified American food – and it’s about time too, published online 02.02.2017, politics.co.uk
British farmers could grow GM crops after Brexit, reveals minister, published online 26.10.16, telegraph.co.uk
10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs, published online, responsibletechnology.org
Contaminated eggs scare grows as UK supermarkets pull products, published online 11.08.2017, theguardian.com