2.GM DNA in milk and animal tissue
3.Letter to Tesco's, Sainsbury's. ASDA, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S
---1.Supermarkets urged to follow in the French footsteps and label food that ISN'T GM
Daily Mail, 12 November 2010
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.'
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.'
---2.GM DNA in milk and animal tissue
*GM DNA in feed is taken up by the animal's organs and has been detected in the milk and meat that people eat.1 2 3
*GM feed can affect the health of animals that eat it. GM DNA from soy has been found in the blood, organs, and milk of goats. An enzyme, lactic dehydrogenase, was found at significantly raised levels in the heart, muscle, and kidneys of kids fed GM RR soy.4 This enzyme leaks from damaged cells and can indicate inflammatory or other cellular injury.
1. Agodi A, Barchitta M, Grillo A, Sciacca S. Detection of genetically modified DNA sequences in milk from the Italian market. Int J Hyg Environ Health. Jan 2006;209(1):81-88.
2. Mazza R, Soave M, Morlacchini M, Piva G, Marocco A. Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to animal tissues. Transgenic Res. Oct 2005;14(5):775 784.
3. Sharma R, Damgaard D, Alexander TW, et al. Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in digesta and tissues of sheep and pigs fed Roundup Ready canola meal. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(5):1699 1709.
4. Tudisco R, Mastellone, V., Cutrignelli, M.I, Lombardi, P, Bovera, F., Mirabella, N., Piccolo, G., Calabro, S., Avallone, L., Infascelli, F. Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings. Animal. 2010;4:1662-1671.
For even more studies showing DNA from GM plants in animal tissue see:
---3.Letter to Tesco's, Sainsbury's. ASDA, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S
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 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.
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.
1.Supermarkets urged to follow in the French footsteps and label food that ISN'T GM