UK Supermarkets Slammed over Changes in GM Feed Requirements

Posted on Apr 14 2013 - 8:36pm by Sustainable Pulse

Following announcements in the UK from M&S, Sainsbury’s, Co-Op and Tesco that they will no longer require that the farm animals in their supply chains are fed a non GM diet, Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association said;

gmo animal feed

“Tesco and the Co-Op are misleading their customers by claiming that the GM feed will not be detectable in products like eggs, milk or chicken. This is not true. Several research studies have found that GM DNA in animal feed is taken up by the animal’s organs and can then be detected in the milk, meat and fish that people eat. This has been confirmed today by the Government’s Food Standards Agency.

M&S, Co-Op and Tesco are also misleading their customers by claiming that non-GM feed isn’t available. They are wrong. In Brazil alone, there is enough non-GM animal feed to supply the whole of Europe. The quantity of non-GM imported feed into Europe is going up year on year, because supermarkets in countries like France and Germany are avoiding GM feed because their customers don’t want it. The British public also don’t want it. A survey last week found that 70% of consumers don’t trust supermarkets when it comes to GM and a recent FSA survey found 67% of consumers wanted meat, eggs and dairy labelled if they come from animals fed on GM feed.

Consumers should have the right to know if they are eating products from animals fed on a GM diet. Currently, British people don’t have that choice. Supermarkets are choosing to hide the presence of GM animal feed and GM DNA in milk and meat by deliberately not labelling products from animals fed on a GM diet. What have UK supermarkets got to hide?

Currently in the UK, the only way to be completely sure you avoid eating chicken or eggs from chickens fed on GM animal feed is to shop at Waitrose, and to avoid all GM animal feed, buy organic wherever you can. Consumers in the rest of Europe are able to make more informed choices as supermarkets there accurately label food. The Soil Association is calling for honest and accurate labelling on all food from animals fed on GM feed in the UK”

GM Watch stated that “It’s important that these supermarkets get very clear feedback on their change of policy so please send a quick email to the UK supermarkets, telling them what you think. All it needs is a sentence or two, and your own woprds are best, but we give a guide below.”

It’s particularly important as well to congratulate Waitrose for standing firm on this issue.

Waitrose: [email protected]
Dear Waitrose, Just to say well done for maintaining your non GM fed poultry and eggs – an excellent decision. if you let me know about any other non GM fed ranges i will buy them too.

Dear M&S, I am bitterly disappointed in your decision to drop your non GM fed ranges. I will not be buying GM fed meat and dairy, and hence will not be frequenting your shops until you switch back to using non-GM feed in your meat and dairy.

Dear Co-op, I am bitterly disappointed in your decision to drop your non GM fed ranges. i will not be buying GM fed meat and dairy, and hence will not be frequenting your shops until you switch back to using non-GM feed in your meat and dairy.

Tesco: [email protected]
Dear Tesco; it is very wrong for you to drop your non GM fed poultry and eggs. It was the only reason I still shopped there. I suggest you rapidly re connect with your customers, use your market power to contract in non-GM soya supplies and reverse your decision as soon as possible.

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Sustainable Pulse is a global news outlet covering sustainable agriculture, GMOs and pesticides.

16 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Gillian Young April 14, 2013 at 20:46 - Reply

    We fought long and hard for the food standard agency to withdraw from using gm, writing to ministers and shops telling them we would not be shopping in their store until they changed, we are willing to bang up the campaign, let me know what we can do, they don’t scare me though in the past they did try to under surveillance and whatever else they deemed necessary for me to quit, we didn’t do anything illegal , and I did not quit, former Munlochy vigil campaigner.

  2. phil April 15, 2013 at 03:11 - Reply

    “Currently in the UK, the only way to be completely sure you avoid eating chicken or eggs from chickens fed on GM animal feed is to shop at Waitrose, and to avoid all GM animal feed, buy organic wherever you can.” Wrong again, there’s another option… don’t eat animal products.

    • Katarzyna Sinclair April 18, 2013 at 10:11 - Reply

      @ Phil- animals are fed GM PLANTS, so being vegetarian does not change anything

      • Brian John April 19, 2013 at 00:43 - Reply

        In fact you might be rather disturbed to discover that in addition to the use of Roundup in the production of GM soy and corn etc, it is also widely used as a dessicant in Europe on conventional crops. So you might well get Roundup residues in your vegetarian diet, unless you eat only organically produced fruit and veg.

  3. Walt April 22, 2013 at 19:56 - Reply

    GM crops are an important part of sustainably increasing food production and decreasing pesticide use and soil erosion. They make no till farming (leaving crop residue in fields instead of plowing it under and planting amid the residue) possible. This reduces soil erosion, and good agricultural soil is an irreplaceable resource. They can increase the nutrient value of food (e.g., Golden Rice, which provides vitamin A). GM corn (maize) naturally resists the main corn-attacking insects and allows the use of less insecticide in corn growing. Other GM corn is drought resistant and allows corn to be grown in poor countries that could not grow it before or with less use of irrigation. Increasing crop yields allows more land to be used for nature preservation. I simply don’t understand why opposition to GM crops is part of support for more sustainable agriculture. Increasing yields, lowering pesticide use, reducing the need for irrigation, and reducing the land required for producing the same amount of food is all part of sustainability. Organic farming requires more land to produce a given amount of product, more tillage to control weeds, more diesel fuel, more use of things like black plastic mulch. Lower yield and higher cost is one reason organic food costs more. Eating organic is a valid choice, but it should not be done on environmental grounds.

    • Angela April 30, 2013 at 04:03 - Reply

      Some of us are not willing to risk the health of our children by feeding them GM foods. I have read the test results and seen the tumours on test rats. If there is nothing bad about GM foods, why is there such a fight to not have the foods labelled as such? You MUST be a Monsanto, or it’s ilk, employee, as I have never heard anyone not connected to the GM industry support the use of GM food stuffs, because there is nothing to support, it is all bad if it affects the health of those eating them, and it does! Also, Monsanto et al are making a fortune for the pharmaceutical companies because of all the illness their use results in, perhaps you work for big Pharma?

  4. Arlene Johnson May 12, 2013 at 18:37 - Reply

    Has anyone heard of what Lidl’s policy is in the UK? No mention of it here.

  5. Daniele March 22, 2014 at 19:44 - Reply

    Is there any news, in March 2014 (1 year later, so), about this subject?

    • Sustainable Pulse March 23, 2014 at 04:59 - Reply

      Hi Daniele,

      Sadly not, not even one of the UK supermarkets mentioned has changed their policy – they are all still using GMO Feed for their meat and dairy products. Despite there now being plenty of non-GMO feed supply.

      Best Wishes,
      Sustainable Pulse Team

  6. Daniele March 25, 2014 at 10:41 - Reply

    Please, have you the link, or an article, about the Government’s Food Standards Agency GM detection confirmation in animal’s DNA ? I’ll publish it. Thank you.

  7. Dave May 24, 2014 at 20:33 - Reply

    I wrote to all four of these supermarkets named in the artcle. The response could best be described as a brush off. “It is not cost effective as GM feed is so widespread now. GM animal feed does not make any difference to the food product. The GM fed food product (meat) is identical to the non GM fed product.” etc.
    Having to pay a premium for non poisoned ie organic food is blackmail of the extortion variety.
    I note that the supermarket loaf I just bought contains soya flour. Why? This is not a traditional bread ingredient. Given that most of the world’s soya production is now GM can I trust that the loaf is free from glyphosate? The label is no use as it fails to state if any GM product has been used.
    If Monsanto’s products are so wonderful why are they so scared of GM labeling on consumer products? To paraphrase our dear government (on NSA issues) “if you’ve nothing to hide then you’ve nothing to worry about!”

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