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Superquinn Own Brand to go GMO-Free



press release

Superquinn First Irish Chain to go GE Free?

Sainsburys in the U.K. has announced that it’s own products are to become free of genetically modified ingredients.

Not only that, but that they have formed a European consortium of retailers
including M&S, Carrefour, Superquinn, Effelungs, Migros and Delhaiz.

Genetic Concern welcomes the move which will have the effect of creating a market for segregated crops from farmers not using the technology. As more food producers reject genetically engineered ingredients, farmers will be forced to start growing the sort of foods that consumers demand.

However, the group emphasised that the move only affected own-brand products in those stores - other major brands still have different policies, with companies such as Milupa, Cow&Gate and Kelloggs refusing to use GMOs,, while other companies have no policy as yet.

Genetic Concern also point out that the decision will only apply to foods containing protein or DNA from genetically engineered crops.

"Consumers are still be left with no labelling, no information and no choice in relation to the myriad of oils, starches, and other derivatives that are used in margarine, biscuits, cakes etc." said Quentin Gargan, spokesperson for Genetic Concern, adding that "consumers are not just interested in whether a food contains genetically engineered protein, they want to know if it was produced using genetically engineered crops - full stop!"

Increase in soy allergies just a co-incidence?

A survey carried out by the York Nutritional Laboratory this week reveals that allergies to soy have increased by 50% in the last year. This was the first year in which there was a significant amount of genetically engineered soy sold.

A link between the increase in allergies and genetic engineering cannot be established or denied because genetically engineered soy is not segregated from the traditional varieties.

"In view of this research, the move by supermarkets such as Superquinn may well be too little too late" said Mr. Gargan "this technology has been introduced in a totally irresponsible manner which enables companies like Monsanto to declare the technology to be safe while ensuring that no adverse health effects could be detected and pinpointed"

ENDS.

For further information, please call Quentin Gargan on 088 275 4857

encl; Extract from Daily Express re soya allergies

Why soya is a hidden destroyer
Daily Express 12 March 99 Exclusive by Mark Townsend

Fresh fears over the safety of genetically modified foods surfaced faced yesterday after new research revealed that food allergies relating to soya increased by 50 per cent last year. A study by Europe's leading specialists on food sensitivity found health complaints caused by soya - the ingredient most associated with GM foods - have increased from 10 in 100 patients to 15 in 100 over the past year. Researchers at the York Nutritional Laboratory said their findings provide real evidence that GM
food could have a tangible, harmful impact on the human body.


The findings were sent to Health Secretary Frank Dobson last night as scientists urged the Government to act on the information and impose an instant ban on GM food, while further safety tests are carried out. Dr Michael Antoniou, senior lecturer in molecular pathology at Guy's Hospital, Central London, said: "This is a very interesting if slightly worrying development. It points to the fact that far more work is needed to assess their safety. At the moment no allergy tests are carried out before GM foods are marketed and that also needs to be looked at."John Graham, spokesman for the York laboratory, said: "We believe this raises serious new questions about the safety of GM foods because it is impossible to guarantee that the soya used in the tests was GM-free." It is the first time in 17 years of testing that soya has crept into the laboratory's top 10 foods to cause an allergic reaction in consumers. The vegetable has moved up four places to ninth end now sits alongside
foodstuffs with a long history of causing allergies, such as yeast, sunflower seeds and nuts.


Mr. Graham said researchers tested 4,500 people for allergic reactions to vegetables including soya. Among the range of chronic illnesses it caused were irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems and skin complaints including acne and eczema. "People also suffered neurological problems with chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches and lethargy. It is worrying,"


Mr Graham added. Researchers measured the levels of antibodies in a person's blood. If increased levels were detected it showed the person suffered an adverse reaction to a particular food.

Soya, the wonder crop of the 20th century is found in 60 per cent of all processed foods sold in the UK - from bread to baby food, ready-to-eat curries to vegetarian lasagne. But because GM and natural soya are mixed at source in America - the world's biggest supplier - it has become increasingly difficult for retailers to guarantee the purity of any products.


Last month campaigners from Greenpeace dumped four tons of GM soya beans from America at the gates of Downing Street in protest. The Consumers' Association yesterday renewed its demand for the Government to investigate the safety of GM foods. A spokesman said: "We just don't know what health problems could arise in the future. " Waitrose yesterday announced that it would be stocking its own-label GM-free foods by the end of the month. Managing director David Felwick said: "We believe customers should be able to make an informed choice about the products
they are buying."