There were some serious ripples of green discontent back in May when all of the major supermarkets declared that it had become too difficult for them to source chickens and eggs that had guaranteeably been fed on non-GM feeds as these foods were now too hard to get – even though non-GM animal food producers in Brazil, one of the major sources of such foods for the UK, say they are now producing record quantities of non-GM feed.
The more likely reason for the move, it has been suggested, is increased pressure on the UK (seen as the softest touch on this side of the Atlantic) by the US GM giants. Certainly the government, in the person of Environment Secretary Owen Patterson (already infamous among environmentalists for his opposition to the reduction in use of the bee-damaging neonicotinoid pesticides), is a keen supporter of GM. Moreover, the UK supermarket change of policy is a stark contrast the supermarket policy across Europe which is firmly behind non-GM livestock and crops.
The GM debate is far too complex and emotive for a short blog. So, beyond reiterating the principle that is also fundamental for those who suffer from food allergies and intolerances, that everyone has a right to know what is in their food and how it has been produced, so all GM food should be clearly labelled, I am just going to point you to a handful of excellent and illuminating articles elsewhere. See below.
If you find yourself convinced, one way or the other, please then use your ‘people power’! If you disagree with supermarket GM policies, do not buy their chickens or their eggs and take five minutes to send a brief email to their Customer Service departments or, even better their CEOs, telling them what you have done and why.
Tesco – Philip Clarke – try Philip.Clarke@uk.tesco.com
Asda – Andy Clarke – try Andy.Clarke@asda.co.uk
M & S – Marc Bolland – try Marc.Bolland@marks-and-spencer.com
Sainsbury – Justin King – try Justin.King@sainsburys.co.uk
Morrisons – Dalton Philips – try Dalton.Philips@morrisonsplc.co.uk
Coop – Steve Murrells – try Steve.Murells@co-operative.coop
Then send the same email, appropriately, if marginally, altered to your MP! Easy to find him/her via the very useful Find Your MP site.
If you only have time/energy/enthusiasm for one, try an excellent article in Green Futures Magazine this April by Anthony Kleanthous – GM: Time for a more nuanced debate
For good coverage of the supermarket chicken feed issue, an article in the Observer by Jamie Doward on 11th May and a short article in The Grocer reporting that nearly 75% of consumers do not trust supermarkets to tell the truth about GMOs.
A very interesting but lengthy document from EarthOpenSource by Michael Antoniou, Claire Robinson and John Fagan, GMO Myths and Truths. An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops. If nothing else, just read the executive summary on P8.
An article from 2009 on the campaigning website, the Institute for Responsible Technology, listing a truly scary number of research studies showing the disastrous effects that being fed GM crops has had on animal health.
(And many thanks to FM follower, Carolyn May for alerting me to a couple of these articles and nagging me into writing about the issue. I am afraid that the last few months have been so taken up with ‘freefrom’ and our own internal affairs, that the FM eye has wandered slightly off the bigger picture.)