How to get British supermarkets to return to GM-free meat and dairy

Nowadays, voting for politicians or political parties that have been bought out by global corporate interests is an exercise in futility. But there is one lever of power still left to us – and that is voting with our shopping baskets.

Last month, there was a shining example of consumer power in action as the top German supermarkets, the powerhouses of Europe when it comes to retail, delivered a huge blow to the biotech industry by forcing their poultry industry to return to the use of non-GMO feed.

Why have the German supermarkets acted in this way? They have had no choice in the matter, because German consumers are refusing to eat chickens fed on GM soya, or eggs laid by them. They are voting with their shopping baskets.

We should do the same here in the UK – and the only thing preventing this, so far, has been lack of awareness. Most British shoppers are blissfully ignorant of the GM dangers to health lurking in the meat and dairy they buy in supermarkets here – apart from Waitrose, and some of Sainsbury’s SO Organic range.

This is why we have brought out the Shop GMO-Free in the UK app, free to download here, which gives the GM status of thousands of foods sold in UK supermarkets. Just click on this button for a free download.

Why do British shoppers need an app?

Most of the British supermarkets announced, together, in April 2013, they that could no longer guarantee that all their meat and dairy came from animals fed on GM-free soya. Tesco, the Co-op and Marks and Spencer joined Morrison’s and Asda in what was clearly a cartel which had sold out to the biotech industry. They claimed that they’d been forced to make this change because the world’s supply of GMO-free soya was drying up, which turned out not to be true.

Most of the world’s non-GMO soya at that time came from Brazil, and the Brazilians were very quick to follow up that announcement with a press statement that there was clearly enough GMO-free feed in the system to supply Europe’s needs.

So you have to ask the question – what was really behind the British supermarkets’ decision to stop insisting that their suppliers use non-GMO soya? This is an important question, because scientific tests have shown that the health problems that GM foods cause can jump the species barrier (see *Secondary products article below).

On Monday this week, a leading German farming company, KTG Agrar AG, announced plans to expand its GM-free soybean cultivation in expectation of major demand for crops free of genetically modified organisms. This is a direct result of the German supermarkets being forced to bend to consumer forces.

They’ve given the German Poultry Association (ZDG) until 1st January 2015 to stop using GMO feed for both egg and poultry meat production. That is the date when the retailers want to receive GMO-free fed products again, meaning poultry suppliers will have to rush to get their feed supply chains free from GMO feed once more.

“With meat consumption in Europe at best stagnating, I think soybeans will be in demand as an alternative,” said a KTG spokesman. “We started three years ago with 2,000 hectares of soybeans. This rose to 7,000 hectares harvested this year, and next year we plan to expand this to 10,000 to 12,000 hectares. I think the key point is that we are focusing on GMO-free soybeans.”

Global GMO Free Coalition Coordinator, Henry Rowlands, stated: “The wool has been pulled over the eyes of retailers across Europe by the GMO industry over the past year. We welcome the news that they have started to fight back in the interest of their customers, who do not want to buy GM-fed eggs and meat.”

If you’d like to join the increasing numbers of those who are voting with their shopping baskets, you will need information on the GM-status of sold-in-the-UK foods that contain GM ingredients, or meat or dairy that comes from animals fed on GM feed…. only available from our free app.

Weaponised shopping

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.


* Secondary products

 While food manufacturers are legally obliged to show on the label when their ingredients are genetically modified (GM), they are not legally obliged to, and so usually don’t, put on their labels when the meat and dairy ingredients come from animals fed on GM feed. These types of ingredients are known as secondary products.

For our app, we’ve asked food manufacturers and supermarkets whether or not they can guarantee their secondary products. When they couldn’t, we’ve colour coded their products amber.

Why are secondary products important?

Monsanto, and other bio-tech companies that develop and grow GM crops, have barely carried out any tests to ascertain the safety of genetic modification to foods. They justify this stance by claiming that their products are ‘food’ and not ‘medicine’, and therefore have no impact on health. It is patently nonsense to claim that what we eat has no effect on our physical body. So it’s been up to other independent scientists to do the tests which have, largely, found that genetically modified ingredients in food do have a deleterious impact on health, and can cause many serious problems including birth defects.

(Read more in GM Foods – The New Thalidomide).

One of the ways that the GM lobby tries to justify food manufacturers not having to be legally obliged to tell their customers when they contain secondary products is to say that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) cannot jump the species barrier…. for example, it cannot jump from cows to humans. As genetic modification is about playing around with genes and DNA, they claim that this means that the type of feed which cows consume will have no impact on human health. However, it’s not about only about DNA – there’s the equally important RNA (ribonucleic acid), which scientists have found can jump the species.

Is there a risk of cross-species contamination?

A cell research paper*, published in 2012, shows how the micro-RNA spliced into genetically modified foods is changing our organs. In other words, RNA and DNA carry information which ‘talks to’ our cells and our organs. This new information going into our bodies from the RNA of another species, which doesn’t naturally belong in that food, is containing instructions which will change us to such an extent that we will become no longer human .. or what we consider to be human.

(Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA by Lin Zhang et al.)

In addition, a new study published in the peer reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS), find that there is sufficient evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system through an unknown mechanism.

(Read more at New study proves that GMOs fed to animals can jump species into humans who eat them)

So all this means that we should take a more precautionary approach to secondary products. The choice is yours, and with our app, you will be empowered to make that decision with information about when the manufacturer couldn’t guarantee to us that their products contained meat or dairy products from animals fed on GM-free feed.


Shop GMO-Free in the UK app

We’re the first to bring out an app containing the GM status of more than 10,000 foods sold in UK supermarkets, Shop GMO-Free in the UK, which you can download for free here!

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