Food Additives – G
Gardening – Home gardeners need not use toxic chemicals or slaughterhouse by-products to maintain a healthy garden. Choosing disease resistant varieties of seed and rotating vegetable cropping, growing a vegetable in the same location every 3 or so years can prevent disease. Companion planting is said to aid plant growth and attract insect predators such as the 18 spotted lady beetle (the 21 spotted variety with the orange head eats your plants).
Make your own compost with scraps, shredded newspapers (not colored inks, which are poisonous), and liberal amounts of cut grass, spent mushroom compost, or stable manure (avoid putting ripe weed seeds in, as some will germinate when you use the compost). Seaweed fertilizers are available (not the calcified type, it is made from crushed coral), or you can collect your own seaweed next time you go to the beach. Mulching with newspaper and compost keeps down weeds and keeps the soil moist and at an even temperature, reducing the amount of work you have to do and being of benefit to plant growth. I swear by it.
Caterpillars and snails can be picked off by hand, or kept off by barriers such as plastic bottle bottoms around seedlings. Putting up with a certain amount of predators makes your garden more interesting as you can observe their life cycles, the kids love it. A lot of species of weed may be eaten, many make a good substitute in spinach dishes. Jackie French's "Backyard Self-sufficiency" and Tim Low's "Wild Herbs of Australia and New Zealand" are indispensable.
Alternatives to pesticides and fungicides: strong and healthy growing plants are more likely to be able to survive insect predation. Even so, insect attack will inevitably occur. Here are some natural solutions to bug control:
Pyrethrum – derived from the pyrethrum daisy, the extract of which is a broad spectrum insecticide. Readily available in dust or spray form, but very easy to grow yourself as a companion to your veges.
Garlic Spray – a simply made home remedy. Soak for 24hrs a mixture of one bunch of garlic, with 2 tsp of mineral oil, 1/2 a liter of water and 1/2 a grated cake of vegetable soap. Dilute 1:99 and spray plants. The soap and oil helps the mixture adhere to the plants without suffocating them. Repels everything. Jackie French's recipe is virtually the same, with less soap and less dilution. She also suggests to decrease the dilution if it isn't working. 67, 68
Bordeaux mixture – 90g Copper Sulphate with 4.5 liters of hot water and leave overnight. Then mix 125g of garden lime with 4.5 liters of water and leave overnight. On the following day mix them together and use immediately. Excellent against mildews. 68
Chive Tea – Sinnamon recommends this for scab and mildew: pour 500ml of boiling water over dried chives and let infuse for an hour. Strain and dilute 1:2 with water, then use. Also effective with onion greens. 68
Baking Soda – imagine my delight to find yet another use for the ubiquitous baking soda: for mildews, scale and rusts. 500g soda, 15 liters water, 250g grated soap – mix thoroughly 68
Seaweed extract – spray leaves for mold and fungus control 68 Chamomile Tea – make tea as per usual, drizzle cold tea round seedlings to prevent damping off 67
Lantana Spray – you knew it had to be good for something, didn't you? French suggests Boiling 500g of the leaves in 1 liter of water to control aphids. 67
Mustard Spray – make as above with seeds rather than leaves, kills scale 67
Companion Planting – Basil near Zucchini, combats mildew. Chives grown around Apple trees helps combat scab. Coriander repels insects with its stench. Rosemary repels carrot fly. Sage helps repel cabbage moths. Onions are excellent companions with almost every other vegetable. Marigold both fix nitrogen and repel root nematodes. There are many other combinations that aid the growth of other plants. 68
see also organic farming, fertilizers, pesticides 3, 18, 19
An excellent site introducing organic gardening techniques for the home garden can be found at Gardening as an anarchist plot and Organic Gardening
Gelatin – sometimes called Gelation or gel, product of the boiled down bones, skin and cartilage of slaughtered animals. Used for foods – jelly, sauces, desserts, some yoghurt, some ice-cream; drugs – as a capsule coating; and photography, lithography, manufacture of sizing and some plastics. Jelly using vegetable gums are available in supermarkets. 2, 3, 14
Gene technology – The major pesticide producers in the world are also the main exponents of the current push for genetically engineered foods. Despite claims that gene technology can solve food shortages problems, the truth is that GE foods will give chemicals companies a monopoly that renders farmers entirely dependent on them should GE crops prove successful economically for their disease resistance and prolonged shelf-life. The effects on human biology is unknown in the long term where animal genes are being used to change the qualities of other species. Mutation by these artificial life forms is possible and dangerously unpredictable in its outcome. The concept of companies being able to patent GE or any other life forms purely for profit is obviously immoral, giving commerce the ownership of nature itself. In 1990 Rennin became the first genetically engineered additive approved by the US FDA.
Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, has developed a genetically engineered variety of soybean called "Roundup Ready" which is resistant to the effects of the herbicide so that farmers can use Roundup indiscriminately. Monsanto are also responsible for Bollgard cotton, Posilac bovine growth hormone and the Flavr Savr tomato (the latter as part owners of Calgene). Monsanto expects that the RoundupReady soy beans will represent 33% of the total world soy crop planted in 1997. Monsanto are opposed to separation of their GE soybeans from other varieties, or even labeling, so that consumers will not be able to avoid them. Soybeans are found in as much as 60 percent of processed foods.
Apparently GMAC (genetic manipulation advisory committee) don't consider the RoundupReady soy bean "a significant safety risk". Two shipments have graced Australia's shores so far, in October '96 and march '97. We're probably already eating it.
ANZFA has "initiated a proposal to regulate…genetically modified foods, animals and microorganisms". A draft standard proposes use of GM foods only if specifically permitted, i.e. assessed as safe.
ANZFA are thinking about telling us about GM foods, but they haven't decided what to do about it yet, though they have been talking about it since February 1997, they have yet to vote on it. Apparently the proposal was released for comment, but obviously not widely publicized. Let us eat cake and tell us what's in it later. 51
The Australian GeneEthics Network are advocating letter-writing campaigns to ensure tough guidelines accompany GE food use in Australia:
The Australia NZ Food Authority (ANZFA) will soon set a standard for gene tech foods. If adopted, ANZFA would require foods to be assessed and approved case-by-case, but assessment processes are weak and few foods would be labeled. We want stronger rules, monitoring, a public voice, and universal labeling .The draft standards won't protect public health, safety, or the right to know. Though gene tech foods have no history of safe use, pre-market human tests and post-market monitoring are not proposed. These poorly regulated products impose unacceptable health risks, but no benefits to food buyers…A precautionary system is needed to give early warning of potential disasters. Regulators have not learnt from experience. L-tryptophan, a food supplement made by genetically engineered microbes, in 1989 killed around fifty people and thousands more were permanently crippled in the USA. Yet ANZFA's proposed standard might still allow such toxic foods to be registered and sold, even without being labeled!
The potential for new genes and proteins to create allergic reactions or other illnesses is poorly understood. But ANZFA focuses on similarities to existing food products, not dangerous differences in the processes by which they were produced.
Under the proposal, engineered whole foods (eg. long-life, false-fresh tomatoes; pork with human genes) and processed foods containing over 5% transgenic would be labeled. However, while the ingredients list may say genetically altered, the label can also claim "genetically enhanced, improved or augmented", even where quality and safety are reduced, as with the gene beans. Enzymes, additives and processing aids made in vats by genetically engineered microbes, and harvested from the biological soup, would not be labeled. The cheese rennet, baking and brewing enzymes and synthetic pig growth hormone, already in processed foods, would still not be labeled. To get the best outcomes for everyone, ANZFA's rules must be more responsive to the various legitimate concerns of citizens. Without the co-operation of food buyers the regulators and industry will both be out of business.
The Australian GeneEthics Network also claims that the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee gave the "Roundup Ready" soya bean approval without public consultation and:
then secretly agreed to Monsanto's request for a 200 fold increase in Roundup residues on dry soybeans, traded for US government approval of illegal tick pesticide residues in Australian beef exports to the USA. They say the public was not told because only a variation in maximum residue level was proposed for imported beans, not a new use. But the present level of .1mg/kg is effectively zero and Australian growers are not permitted to use Roundup on soybeans.
It is a new use…
ANZFA finally 'told' the community by notice in a Government Gazette in January, and with a two line notice to its regular reviewers.
Although Monsanto is offering incentives to get the farmers hooked on the product, the RoundupReady beans are subject to a technology fee of $5 US per unit from the farmers as well as disallowing seed saving due to patenting – both designed to make the farmer ever more dependent on the company.
The issue is one that demands public discussion and objection. Greenpeace strongly advises writing to the relevant ministers calling for a total ban to GE food production or import. AGEN recommend writing to the Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge and you state health minister in protest. Also:
Senator Bob Woods
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Health and Family Services
Parliament House ACT 2600
Mr. Michael Hooke
Australia Food Council
2-4 Brisbane Avenue
Barton ACT 2600
Australian and New Zealand Food Authority
PO Box 7186
Canberra MC ACT 2610
Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee Secretariat
GPO Box 2183
Canberra ACT 2601
For more information visit the Greenpeace global site
see also Roundup 9,12, 34, 35
Glycerides – glycerine (sweet, colorless amino acid derived from proteins ) and glycerol (sweet, oily colorless alcohol, derived by decomposition of natural fats with alkalis), usually as a by-product of soap making using animal fat or vegetable oil. Can be obtained from petroleum products. Uses include toothpaste, cosmetics, foods, soap, medicines, transmission and brake fluids, plastics. 3, 47
Glycol – a sweet compound derived from ethylene compounds. Used as a solvent, freezing compound, and in the manufacture of explosives 3
Glycolic acid – acid obtained from cane sugar and unripe grapes, can also be made synthetically. 3
Glue – an adhesive preparation, usually made from gelatin, derived from the boiling down of animal skins, bones and cartilage in water. Petroleum based 'white' glues are easily substituted 2, 3
Glutamic acid – An amino acid found widely in plant and animal tissue. seasoning and antioxidant in cosmetics. 14, 75
Gluten – plant protein found in cereals, used as an adhesive and a thickener. Gluten bread contains little starch. Some people may be sensitive to gluten, manifest as diahorrea, weight loss and abdominal bloating, or dermatitis. 3, 47
Greenhouse gases – see Energy consumption and Ozone
Guanine – compound contained in muscle tissue, fish scales, bird excrement (guano). Often used as fertilizer, in shampoos, nail polish, make-up. Can be derived from plant and mineral sources. 2, 3, 14
Guaranin – derived from a South American rainforest tree of the Holly family called Guayusa where it is used as a stimulant drink used to calm nerves , relieved stomach cramps and body aches and pains in general. It has become popular in tablet or gum form. 3
Gum additives – thicken mixtures to create the desired texture 1, 3, 13