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3-Food: Worried UK consumers 'shun GM foods'



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TITLE:  Worried consumers 'shun GM foods'
SOURCE: British Broadcasting Corporation
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/3618386.stm
DATE:   1 Sep 2004 

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Worried consumers 'shun GM foods'

Britons are increasingly worried about genetically modified foods, a
survey by consumer magazine Which? suggests. Of the 1,000 people polled,
61% said they were concerned about the use of GM material in food
production. The poll also suggested more consumers are trying not to buy
GM food, while fewer back GM crops in the UK. Earlier this year, the
government gave the go-ahead to the commercial growing of a variety of GM
maize, but banned two more varieties of crops. According to the poll, the
number of people who are wary of GM foods and try to avoid them has gone
up from 45% in 2002 to 58%. "Consumers clearly don't want GM food and are
hardening their stance against it," said the editor of Which?, Malcolm
Coles. "It's hardly surprising when questions still remain about the
risks for health and the environment," he added. He went on to say that
the government had ignored the public's concerns for long enough and
needed "to rethink its policy before going ahead with growing GM crops
commercially".


Ingredients removed

Fewer people are happy with having GM crops in the UK - only one in four
Britons compared to one in three two years ago. Finally, the number of
those satisfied with manufacturers removing GM ingredients from their
products has gone up 5%, from 28% to 32%. Environmentalist group Friends
of the Earth welcomed the survey. Clare Oxborrow, the group's GM
campaigner, said: "Public opposition to GM food and crops is growing, yet
the government is planning to allow widespread GM contamination of non-GM
crops. "The government must listen to the public and introduce tough new
rules to keep our food, farming and environment GM-free."


GM maize

In March this year, Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett gave the green
light to cultivation of herbicide-tolerant maize for animal feed. She
rejected GM beet and oilseed rape, which had been recently tested in so-
called farm-scale evaluations. But environmental activists and farmers'
groups this summer staged several protests at Sainsbury's depots and
supermarkets. They accuse the chain of producing and selling milk and
dairy products from cows fed on imported GM feed. But Sainsbury's replied
there was "no evidence" that milk from animals fed on such crops
contained any GM material.




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