Islam and Genetically Modified Foods

What are GM foods? 
There are four main commercial crops: oilseed rape, cotton, maize and soya, which have had a foreign gene from an animal or virus inserted into the plant to make them either herbicide- or pest-resistant.
Why are some people worried about them? 
In 2003, UK farm trials concluded that GM farming harms the countryside: weedkillers kill weed seeds, leaving the beetles without any food, then both the birds – who feed on the beetles – and the beetles die…Also, modified crops could cross-pollinate with wild plants to create ‘super weeds’ resistant to pests.Should we be concerned? Unlike the present government, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Prince Charles believe any benefits gained from cheap food to feed the world’s hungry are dwarfed by the environmental risks, and that there is no evidence that GM crops actually increase yields.

How can we tell if a food is GM? 

There are almost no GM foods on sale in the UK as most supermarkets have banned them. But if animals eat GM feed, there is no legal obligation to declare it, so meat, eggs and dairy could be GM.

Identifying GM FOODS

Personally I didn’t realise that some of the GM  genetically modified foods are cross bred with animal genes to enhance their properties for marketing purposes until I read the following article, although recently a brother i know touched on the subject when we were speaking.

Not many consumers realize that the FDA does not require genetically modified food to be labeled. That’s because the FDA has decided that you, dear consumer, don’t care if the tomato you’re eating has been cross bred with frog genes to render the tomato more resistant to cold weather. Some consumers may not be concerned with eating Frankenfood, but for those who are, here’s how to determine if the fruits and vegetables you’re buying are (GM) genetically modified.

Hat tip to Marion Owen for her valuable information. Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8.

For example:

A conventionally grown banana would be: 4011

An organic banana would be: 94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011

These tips are specially important now that over 80% of all processed foods in the US are genetically modified. Many countries in the European Union have been banning GM products and produce (including Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg).  We say “Eat healthy, buy or grow organic”.

As far as Islam is concerned with GM foods, the following is taken from this wonderful piece of writing mashallah.

: Islam and Biotechnology: With Special Reference to Genetically Modified


Author: Mohd Safian, Yasmin Hanani 

Institutional Affiliation: Lecturer, Faculty of Shari`ah and Law, Islamic University

College of Malaysia 

2.4 Changing God’s creation and tampering with nature:

Apart from environment effects, the GM food producers, farmers and manufacturers are

accused of changing natural process and tampering with nature when cattle were changed

from herbivores to cannibal carnivores.  Previously, during winter when the grass is thin

and weak, soybean was used to feed the cattle, as they need  protein supplement.

However, some farmers have used remnants of dead cattle instead of soybean as to save

cost. Consequently, the BSE  (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or mad cow disease

that attacked the UK nation widely was claimed as the detrimental effect of the step of

changing natural process.

Further more, as Saeed A. Khan argues that the positive consequences of GM technology

are also counterbalanced with an equally pernicious cost. The danger of overproduction

of crops may be irresistible. Although the crops that are resistance to disease and pests

have constructive value, the disruption to the balance of the ecosystem is unclear as

illustrated in the reports made by American Medical Association. 

3.0 Al-Qur’an and Al-hadith views regarding GM foods and products:

3.1 Al-Qur’an and Al-hadith points of views regarding food intake:

As regard to the potential risks associated with GM food, Al-Qur’an has led several rules

on food intake. Allah The Almighty said:

“Eat of the things which God hath provided for you, lawful and good: But fear God, in

Whom ye believe” (Al-Qur’an. Al-Ma’idah 5: 88). 

 Our physical and spiritual well-being is being compromised for the sake of big business. These engineered crops are already being grown over millions of acres worldwide and can cross-pollinate with normal varieties.The environment is being mistaken for an experimental playground, a mistake that is creating unrecallable damage to the web of life

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