Non Veg Vegetables

By Mr. Marcus Williamson

Author Examines Whether Genetically Modified Food is Vegetarian


Genetically modified foods first came onto the shelves in Europe in the time there was no requirement to level the ingredients as Genetically modified. In 1999,however, European regulations were introduced to require the labelling of GM soya (where present) so that such foods would bear the label "Contains Genetically Modified Soya".

At the times these GM foods were introduced, questions were asked of the politicians scientists and the super markets whether these foods had ever been independently safety-tested for their effect on the health of humans animals and the environment. The answer was, and still is "no".

So these products are untested for safety. However are they suitable for vegetarians? Two examples of GM foods currently available are : Bt maize (corn) and Round Up Ready soya (soy).

Bt maize is produced by Syngenta, a company formed by merger of Novartis and Zeneca. Bt maize contains a gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, which has the ability to produce a toxin to kill the corn borer, an insect grub which feeds on corn. Thus, a poison is built into the plant itself which kills the animals as the plant is growing.

Round Up is a herbicide poison, also known as glyphosate, produced by the company Monsanto. It kills all plant life where it is sprayed. "Round Up Ready" plants have been sliced with a gene, which allows them to survive spraying with Round Up. The effect is what has been called "Green Concrete", an area in which only the herbicide-resistant plant is able to live and all other plant and animal life is eliminated. Other plants, which would have provided habitats for animals normally living around the plant, are destroyed.

These two examples are of currently available plants, which have the ability to withstand deadly poison whilst other surrounding plant and animal life is killed, or to kill animal life by producing poison. These properties have been artificially built into the plants by scientists.

Products such as these, whose purpose is to kill animal life or to survive the elimination of animal habitats, are clearly not keeping with a vegetarian dietary regime.

Other developments, which are of even greater concern to vegetarians, are plants with animal genes inserted into them to provide some property, which would not be possible through convectional crossbreeding. The resulting vegetable is no longer a pure vegetable. Instead it has properties taken from the original plant plus some additional characteristics from an animal.

Two examples of work already announced on versions of plants which have been modified by the insertion of animal genes include : Broccolini Rat and Potato/Scorpion Poison. Broccolini/Rat - A rat gene has been introduced into broccolini to increase the levels of vitamin C in the plant. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and a Chinese kale.

Marcus is the editor for the website "Genetically Modified Food - UK and World News" at



Source : From 'Jain Spirit' International Publication from London


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