News | June 2, 1999

Consumers Push UK Food Companies Away from GM Ingredients

According to a story in the May 27 issue of Marketing Week (London), the British Government's attempts to calm public concerns about genetically modified food may be too late. The article quotes a Greenpeace survey which indicates that not one major food company in the UK now backs the use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in its products.

The survey of 30 food producers found Campbell's Grocery Products to be the last major UK food manufacturer using GM ingredients. It plans, however, to eliminate GM ingredients in order to remain "in line with other major food manufacturers... wherever possible and as soon as it is practical."

Countering Greenpeace's claims, the Food & Drink Federation, which represents 90% of the UK's food manufacturers, maintains that the majority of it's membership hasn't made a GM-free pledge. Currently, Cadbury, Nestle, Northern Foods and Unilever all have publicly announced their intent to remove GM ingredients from their product lines while Heinz and Mars say they have never used them. Major UK supermarket have announced similar intent with regard to their private label products.

Declaring GM foods to be dead in the UK, the article even goes on to give examples of how the UK Government has "backtracked from its uncritical support of the GMO phenomenon." It also warns that "pressure groups are trying to ensure the same applies across the rest of Europe."