The GMO choice: what I choose to feed my children
A concerned parent weighs in on the genetically modified food debate.
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Parents are faced each day with choices about every aspect of their children’s upbringing and probably one of the most important is what they eat. It is not always easy to stick to your principles and remain conscious of how some foods are produced when you and your children are surrounded by an abundance of colourful offerings (offerings that are often unhealthy, unethical and are usually designed to specifically attract children). Something that is really getting my attention at the moment is the on-going (often heated) debate around genetically modified foods.

It is estimated that almost 85% of the basic foods produced in South Africa are genetically modified, putting our country among the world leaders in GMO food production.  I find that terrifying. Those in favour of using GMOs argue that the crops are stronger, need fewer pesticides and produce better yields. But those against it fear potential health risks, such as increased allergies or that it may lead to the development of new diseases.  My feeling is that we aren’t getting the full picture and that the information is being managed by large budgets driven by those who have vested interests in GMO farming. While there is no hard evidence that South African parents should steer clear of GMOs, there is certainly a lot of money being spent on telling us how ‘safe’ it is, and so, as a parent who is always aware of making the right food choices for myself and my family I prefer to avoid GMO food wherever possible.

We are a family of vegetarians.  I have been a vegetarian my whole life and now, as an adult and a mother I choose to give my children foods that are free from animal products.  As a family of vegetarians in a family run business we are still intricately involved in the product development at Fry’s Foods. We’ve made our business choices both from an ethical and a health stand point and so it was a natural decision to ensure that all the ingredients in our products were GMO-free.  

Different families will have different lifestyle choices but at the end of the day we all want what is best for our children. Can we honestly say that GMO is the better choice?  And isn’t it wonderful to know that there are simple, convenient, healthy and 100% guilt-free options when it comes to what we put on our children’s plates. I think it is.

* Tammy Fry Kelly is the Marketing Director at Fry's Family Foods. She is a vegetarian and mother of two with a black belt in karate.

The Fry Group Foods was established by the Fry’s Family in 1992 in South Africa as a way to develop protein alternatives for a vegetarian diet.  21 years later the company is still family run and the business is driven by a passion to create delicious and cruelty-free food that has minimal impact on the environment.  They still operate with the ethos of principles over profits and now export their products to over 23 countries around the world.  Fry’s Food are online at www.frysfamily.com and on Twitter (@FrysFamily) and Facebook.

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