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[genet-news] GMO-FREE PRODUCTS & REGULATION: Pressure on UK supermarkets to label meat and milk from animals fed on GM



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   PRESSURE ON UK SUPERMARKETS TO LABEL MEAT AND MILK FROM ANIMALS FED ON GM

SOURCE:  Soil Association, UK

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.soilassociation.org/News/NewsItem/tabid/91/smid/463/ArticleID/1292/reftab/57/t/Pressure-on-UK-supermarkets-to-label-meat-and-milk-from-animals-fed-on-GM/Default.aspx

DATE:    12.11.2010

SUMMARY: "Following a move by the world?s second largest supermarket, Carrefour, to label foods derived from animals fed a non-GM diet the Soil Association has written to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose to put pressure on them to do the same so UK consumers can make the choice if they want to avoid GM. Although many of these chains have banned GM ingredients from their own-label products this ban on GM does not extend to the feed given to their livestock."

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PRESSURE ON UK SUPERMARKETS TO LABEL MEAT AND MILK FROM ANIMALS FED ON GM

Following a move by the world?s second largest supermarket, Carrefour, to label foods derived from animals fed a non-GM diet the Soil Association has written to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose to put pressure on them to do the same so UK consumers can make the choice if they want to avoid GM.

Although many of these chains have banned GM ingredients from their own-label products this ban on GM does not extend to the feed given to their livestock. Nearly all the non-organic milk, dairy products and pork in UK supermarkets are being produced from animals fed on GM crops, which means most consumers are unwittingly eating food produced from GM crops everyday. [1]

The French supermarket chain will use a green logo which reads ?Nourri sans OGM? or ?Reared without GM? which relates to about 300 products including eggs, poultry, pork, and farmed fish and will be extended to milk and dairy products.

Carrefour made a decision to use the logo after research revealed that 96% of consumers backed honest labeling and 63% would stop eating products from animals reared on GM feed.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said:

?This has long been a gaping hole in the non-GM policies of all UK multiple retailers.  What is worse, there has been a complete lack of openness and honesty with customers. There is clear evidence that this misleads consumers into thinking that no GM crops are involved in the food chain in the UK. 

?It is no longer credible for UK supermarkets and food companies to claim that non-GM animal feed is not available, if the world's second largest multiple retailer is demonstrating that it is.? [2]

 [1] 'Silent invasion - the hidden use of GM crops in livestock feed', 2007 [PDF, 1.4 MB]

<http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=bkVSpF9FMZc%3d&tabid=390>

A Soil Association investigation into the use of GM animal feed which finds that large quantities are being used in the UK to produce our food. This means that most of the non-organic milk, dairy products and pork sold in the UK is from GM-fed animals.

[2] Example of letter to multiple retailers:

Dear XX,

In case you hadn't seen this, I thought you might be interested in a very significant new initiative on GM animal feed by Carrefour (attached below).  As you will see, Carrefour are going to be labelling a wide range of animal products, dairy and meat, as coming from animals which have not been fed on GM animal feed.  They are doing this because they say their research found that "63% of customers would stop consuming food products if they knew the products came from animals fed with GMOs".  I wondered if you have any similar data for Tesco's customers?

This has long been a gaping hole in the non-GM policies of all UK multiple retailers.  What is worse, there has been a complete lack of openness and honesty with customers, through the failure of multiple retailers and the brands they sell to label non-organic meat and dairy products as coming from livestock fed on GM animal feed, as most, with the honourable exception of UK poultry, do.  There is clear evidence that this misleads consumers into thinking that no GM crops are involved in the food chain in the UK.  A recent series of test calls and emails to a number of multiple retailer customer care lines (including yours), which we have carried out anonymously, have again confirmed that consumers are getting extremely confused, and largely inaccurate responses when they ask multiple retailers whether they're selling milk and other dairy products that come from animals fed on GM feed.

The scientific evidence shows that in general the feed animals are given on farm affects the quality of the food products derived from those animals.  Scientists have found fragments of GM DNA from GM animal feed in products like milk.  The technology which enables the ready detection of products deriving from animals fed on GM feed is advancing all the time.  As you know, over the years, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Soil Association have all campaigned to encourage multiple retailers to insist that the livestock products they sell come from animals that are not fed on GM animal feed.  For at least the last ten years, some companies in the animal feed chain, but by no means all, have insisted that non-GM feed would not be available within the next year or two.  While this message has been widely believed in the food industry, it has been consistently wrong, and it still is.  Carrefour's new initiative demonstrates this.  It is no longer credible for UK supermarket
 s and food companies to claim that non-GM animal feed is not available, if the world's second largest multiple retailer is demonstrating that it is.

I'm writing to ask Tesco to follow Carrefour's example, and either insist on all the animal products you sell coming from animals that are not fed on GM animal feed, or at least be open with your customers, and label all of the meat and dairy products that you sell that do come from animals fed on GM feed as such. 

I look forward to hearing from you, and would be happy to meet to discuss this. 

Best wishes, Peter Melchett, Policy Director



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   UK CONSUMERS EATING GM-DERIVED FOOD ?EVERY DAY?

SOURCE:  Farmers Guardian, UK

AUTHOR:  William Surman

URL:     http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/latest-news/uk-consumers-eating-gm-derived-food-%E2%80%98every-day%E2%80%99/35601.article

DATE:    15.11.2010

SUMMARY: "BRITISH supermarkets have been urged to label products that have been reared on a diet of genetically modified feed so consumers can avoid GM products. The Soil Association said nearly all the non-organic milk, dairy products and pork in UK supermarkets were produced from animals fed on GM crops, which meant ?most consumers are unwittingly eating food produced from GM crops everyday?."

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UK CONSUMERS EATING GM-DERIVED FOOD ?EVERY DAY?

BRITISH supermarkets have been urged to label products that have been reared on a diet of genetically modified (GM) feed so consumers can avoid GM products.

The Soil Association said nearly all the non-organic milk, dairy products and pork in UK supermarkets were produced from animals fed on GM crops, which meant ?most consumers are unwittingly eating food produced from GM crops everyday?.

It has now written to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury?s, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose to get them to label food derived from GM feed.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said it was time supermarkets stopped misleading UK consumers into thinking that no GM crops were involved in the food chain, accusing them of ?a complete lack of openness and honesty?.

?This has long been a gaping hole in the non-GM policies of all UK multiple retailers,? he said.

His comments follow a move by the world?s second largest supermarket, Carrefour, to label any food derived from animals fed on GM. If Carrefour could change its ways, so could British retailers, he said.

?It is no longer credible for UK supermarkets and food companies to claim that non-GM animal feed is not available, if the world?s second largest multiple retailer is demonstrating that it is,? said Mr Melchett.  

But the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents Britain?s major supermarkets, said a ?GM-fed? label would be pointless.

?All the scientific advice in Europe and the UK, including from the Food Standards Agency, is that GM material is not transmitted through animal feed to meat or milk. So there would be no point putting unnecessary information on labels,? said Andrew Opie, BRC food director.

Instead he said there were ranges available, including organics, for customers who had made a personal choice to avoid products from GM-fed animals.

Despite this Carrefour will use a green logo on about 300 products including eggs, poultry, pork, and farmed fish to explain the livestock were reared on GM.

A Carrefour survey revealed 63 per cent of customers would stop eating products from animals reared on GM feed if it was labelled as such.



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   SUPERMARKETS URGED TO FOLLOW FRENCH AND LABEL FOOD THAT ISN'T GM

SOURCE:  The Daily Mail, UK

AUTHOR:  Sean Poulter

URL:     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328898/Supermarkets-urged-follow-French-label-food-ISNT-GM.html#ixzz154QdgDIc

DATE:    12.11.2010

SUMMARY: "Supermarkets are being told to come clean on the fact that at least 70 per cent of their meat and milk comes from animals reared on genetically modified feed. Green campaigners are demanding that British supermarkets clearly label such foods to give shoppers the choice to avoid GM. The call comes as French supermarket giant Carrefour launched a new logo system to mark out such products."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


SUPERMARKETS URGED TO FOLLOW FRENCH AND LABEL FOOD THAT ISN'T GM

Supermarkets are being told to come clean on the fact that at least 70 per cent of their meat and milk comes from animals reared on genetically modified feed.

Green campaigners are demanding that British supermarkets clearly label such foods to give shoppers the choice to avoid GM.

The call comes as French supermarket giant Carrefour launched a new logo system to mark out such products.

The chain - the world?s second biggest - now labels foods derived from animals fed a non-GM diet using a green logo. The stamp, which reads ?Nourri sans OGM? or ?Reared without GM?, relates to about 300 products, including pork, poultry, eggs and farmed fish, and will be extended to milk and other dairy foods.

Carrefour took the decision after research revealed that 96 per cent of consumers backed honest labelling and 63 per cent would stop eating products from animals reared on GM feed.

Now the policy director of the Soil Association, Peter Melchett, has written to chief executives of Tesco, Sainsbury?s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, urging them to follow Carrefour?s lead.

Many of these chains have banned GM ingredients from their own-label foods, but not from feed given to their livestock. Lord Melchett described this as a ?gaping hole in the non-GM policies of all UK multiple retailers?.

He said: ?There has been a complete lack of openness through the failure of multiple retailers and the brands they sell to label non-organic meat and dairy products as coming from livestock fed on GM feed.

 ?This misleads consumers into thinking no GM crops are involved in the food chain in the UK.?

Test calls to the customer care lines of Tesco and other retailers revealed shoppers were being given inaccurate information about the use of GM, he said. He added: ?Scientists have found fragments of GM DNA from GM animal feed in products like milk.?

GM graphic

While there is no evidence yet that such products harm human health, critics claim there is a lack of research in this area.

Supermarkets and farmers claim they rely on using GM feed as it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain conventional feed.

But Lord Melchett said Carrefour?s initiative demonstrates that this is incorrect. He said: ?It is no longer credible to claim non-GM animal feed is not available, if the world?s second largest multiple retailer is demonstrating that it is.?

The British Retail Consortium, speaking on behalf of supermarkets, said consumers could already avoid GM-linked products by buying organic.

Spokesman Andrew Opie said: ?The scientific advice in Europe and the UK, including from the Food Standards Agency, is that GM material is not transmitted through animal feed to meat or milk.

?So there would be no point putting unnecessary information on labels.?




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