GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Highly Effective Supermarket Action From the UK

This is from the "Reclaim the Streets" mailing list.
This anti GE-Food List originates from the UK.

To join,
send an e-mail to    and put "Genetics"
in the subject box.

I love this grass roots plan they have begun at supermarkets
throughout the UK. They say that is simple, direct, and effective.

Something similar could be done
in the US, Germany, etc etc.....



On Saturday April 26th there will be actions at supermarkets nationwide as
part of the Global days of Action (April 21-27) against genetically
engineered food and crops. If you are part of a group, or an individual,
concerned about the sale of genetically modified food, organise an action in
your area for this day. Ideally the actions will take place on a regular
basis but if you think that you can only commit to a one off action try to
make it happen on the 26th April.
Below is some hopefully helpful background on the sort of actions that are
happening already.


On Saturday March 15th there was an action agaianst genetically modified
food in Sainsbury's main Camden store, London. March 22nd saw protests at
their Ladbroke Grove store in West London. Many people believe that this is
where the battle against genetically modified food is to be won, at the
supermarket checkout!
The actions were very simple, both to organise and carry out. The response
from consumers was excellent and supermarket staff were caught off guard and
quite rightly worried about possible loss of custom. An added bonus was that
there was little chance of arrest.

A group of about 10-12 people got together and went shopping. We stacked our
baskets high with any food containing ingredients that could possibly have
been genetically manipulated. We avoided piling in frozen or easily damaged
food as the supermarket staff may not have put it back on shelves later and
the thought of it getting chucked out because of our action didn't sit too well.
At a pre-arranged time we joined different queues at checkouts, staying as
close together as possible. When deciding where on the row of checkouts to
group together it would be good to have window access to the outside for
anyone videoing the action, as they are sometimes removed very quickly, and
not very gently, if they are on the inside. When protestors got through the
checkout and were asked for payment they asked the cashier to tell them if
the products contained any genetically manipulated ingredients. Of course
the cashier was unable to do so. Explaining that this was exactly the reason
for the protest we refused to pay and requested to see the manager.
At this point others that had been waiting outside saw their cue and came in
with banners and music,while the rest of the group joined in by either
asking their cashiers the same questions or leafleting the people in queues
and around the supermarket. Meanwhile someone else started a very loud rant
to explain to anyone who could hear, the reason for the action and the issue
of GM food in general.
People explained to each cashier about the action and why it was taking
place as well as giving them a leaflet. The vast majority of both shoppers
and staff were interested in what was being said and even when protesters
were being forced out of the store by security and management customers were
still grabbing leaflets from their hands. Shoppers did not seem annoyed at
the delay, many in fact seemed disgusted by the way we were forced out of
the store for attempting to inform them about products that were on sale in
the store.
The protest continued outside the supermarket with the drummers, banners and
more leafleting as well as friendly warnings from policemen not to go back
on the premises.
*This action will be repeated each Saturday at supermarkets around London.
*Start actions in your area as soon as possible and as regularly as possible.
*Hopefully it will spread very quickly around the country - until we see
*All you need is about ten people, including at least one confident ranter,
a good photocopied leaflet and a few hours out of your Saturday (or any
other day).
*Photographers/press would be useful.
*It is great fun as well as being effective.
a)  make more consumers aware that at least 60% of foods on the shelves may
contain genetically engineered ingredients,
b) show that consumers can demand choice from the supermarkets by calling
for the labelling of all products containing genetically manipulated
ingredients - or even better, to demand that supermarkets no longer sell any
product that may be genetically manipulated.
c)  demand that supermarkets put pressure on the food producers to segregate
genetically engineered foods such as soya.
d) send a message to growers and the multi-national biotech companies that
GM crops are not wanted. If there is no market, farmers will not buy or
plant GM seeds.

If you do start these actions in your area please let people know that they
are happening especially local press and the head offices of the various
supermarkets as well as any other groups or individuals that you think may
be inspired by your actions.
The most important thing to remember is that they have a section for
customers to fill in and hand to supermarket managers demanding that they at
least have the choice whether or not to buy GM food.
It is also essential to have contact numbers for more information as well as
contacts to get more involved in the campaign.
Women's Environmental Network (WEN) have leaflets available if you would
prefer them to making up your own. You can call them on: 0171 247 3327. Text
from leaflets used previously are also available from this email address if
you would like to read it and  then possibly adapt your own from it.
If you want to join the London actions or set up your own, call: 0171 561
9146 or the WEN number above.
RTS now run a genetics information email list.
If you would like to be on it (and are not already) reply putting 'Genetics'
in the subject box.
If you have anything to contribute to the list then send it in and it will
be forwarded - unedited wherever possible.
Reclaim the Streets
PO BOX 9656
N4 4JY
0171 281 4621