This edition of  “What’s on Our Plates?” highlights the increasing number and distribution of processed food products containing GMOs on our market shelves. The report highlights public perceptions towards GMOs and attitudes toward labeling in general. Additionally, the report reveals the presence and spread of glyphosate containing herbicides in our markets despite associated risks.

After a thorough analysis of the data collected, the following are key findings from the 2023 research:

Firstly, the increase in the number of products containing bioengineered/genetically modified ingredients is notable, with a 60% rise in new GM products compared to previous surveys. This clearly shows an increase of GM products within our food supply chain and an increase in their consumption.

Secondly, the survey highlights the importance of increased awareness on GMOs. Many consumers who the consultants interacted with, admitted to having limited knowledge of GMOs, much less their implications. Addressing this knowledge gap through accessible and accurate information is crucial in ensuring informed decision-making among consumers and policymakers.

Thirdly, the change in the labeling language is noteworthy. Most of the products seen in this survey were  labeled as “containing bio-engineered ingredients” rather than the previously common terminology of “produced/partially produced with genetic engineering.” This change may be because of regulatory adjustments in the countries of origin of these products. This begs the question: who is regulating these products in the Nigerian market?

Moreover, the distribution of GMO-containing products across various supermarkets and stores in eight out of the ten surveyed states underscores the widespread availability and accessibility of these items. The diverse range of products, including vegetable oils, cereals, ice cream, chocolates, and food spices, indicates the integration of GM ingredients into various food categories, predominantly sourced from countries such as the USA, South Africa, and the Netherlands.

Comparing findings from previous surveys in 2018 and 2019, a consistent trend is seen regarding the types of products containing genetically modified ingredients, primarily revolving around corn and soy derivatives. This highlights the persistence of certain sources of these products and product categories over time.

Our survey also examined the presence of glyphosate-containing herbicides, revealing a multitude of brands with varying glyphosate concentrations across surveyed cities. This finding underscores the broader impact of GMOs on agricultural practices and raises awareness about associated herbicide usage. 

Download and read the full report here:

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