It’s the thin end of the wedge, and it should alert us to which way the wind is blowing with regard to GM. Tesco is now the third UK supermarket to admit that it can no longer guarantee that its chickens will be fed on non-GM soya (the others being Morrisons and Asda). In other words, food producers and distributors are not listening to us and are probably using our endless anti-GM petitions in place of toilet paper.
As we’ve said before, at the moment, UK supermarkets have been choosing not to include GM ingredients in their own brand products, but cannot guarantee the rest of the brands that they sell are GM-free. Soon, forced by the price of GM-soya being so much less than non-GM soya, we believe that all supermarkets will have to admit that they cannot guarantee that their chicken, lamb, pork or beef hasn’t been fed on non-GM soya.
For that reason, we at The Therapy Book are putting together a phone app which will contain all the foods in UK supermarkets that contain GM ingredients, or animals that are reared on GM feed. At least that way, you and your family will have a choice. If you’d like to receive a free version of the app to test when it’s ready, please fill in this contact form: http://www.thetherapybook.com/contact.aspx
Here’s today’s story about Tesco’s and GM-fed chickens from The Independent.
Tesco withdraws guarantee its birds are not fed GM food
Chickens and eggs sold at Tesco may come from birds fed on genetically modified (GM) soya, the supermarket conceded, as it withdrew its “no-GM” guarantee.
The retailer said that new farming methods meant it could no longer promise that its birds had a diet free of GM material, as it lifted its own 11-year ban on such products.
The announcement spells the end of an ethical-shopping initiative dating back more than a decade.
The retailer said that the global surge of GM soya and changing agricultural techniques meant that it could no longer offer an ethical guarantee to its shoppers. It said new DNA testing had “identified that the risk of finding GM material in non-GM food is increasing”.
A statement issued by Tim J Smith, Tesco’s group technical director, said: “We could not continue with a promise we cannot be sure it is possible to keep and we wanted to be upfront about the changes we are making.”
The original controls, which applied to Tesco own-label poultry and eggs, were put in place in order to reflect the concerns of shoppers who question the impact of GM crops on human health and the countryside.
But the move reflects a wider shift in farming methods and a global surge of GM soya being imported into the EU. Asda and Morrisons already allow GM feed for poultry products.
The bad weather of 2012 has turned many British farmers on to GM crops, with calls from farming leaders to start using the technology as a way of reducing costs and limiting wastage in bad seasons.
Environmental campaigners reacted angrily last night. Peter Melchett, of the Soil Association, said: “Tesco are wrong about this – they have swallowed the line being peddled by pro-GM, multinational, industrial farming companies. 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.”
The statement added: “This does not mean that the poultry and eggs we sell will be genetically modified in any way, just an ingredient in the feed which they eat. The meat from a chicken fed on modified soya feed is no different to the meat of a chicken fed on non-GM feed.”
Coming soon …
Shop GMO-Free In The UK
The first app in the UK to provide the A-Z of the GM status of thousands of foods
Our app – due out in a few weeks time – is the first to show the genetically modified (GM) status of tens of thousands of foods across hundreds of brands on sale now in British shops and supermarkets.
Our extensive database is the result of writing to all the supermarkets and food producers trading in the UK, and asking them directly whether they can guarantee that their foods are GM-free, and whether their meat and dairy comes from animals fed on GM-free feed. We will be writing to them regularly to make sure we stay up-to-date.
With the Shop GMO-Free in the UK app at your fingertips, you’ll be able to join with us, to ‘persuade’ food manufacturers what sorts of foods they should be supplying us with, in a language they can understand. In other words, we can vote with our shopping baskets!
We’ll also keep you updated with all the latest news on the political front, as Westminster MPs are lobbied by the biotech companies in the wake of EU legislation changing, and persuaded to let GM foods into British supermarkets.
We’ll let you know as soon as the app is available, so continue to watch this space