ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
7 January 2003


a brilliant front page from the Daily Mirror, one of the UK's best selling papers, on Dubya's oil-driven vision on Iraq, here:
if unclear, see:

1. GM prog on *RADIO 4 TONIGHT* Tuesday 7th Januray at 8pm
2. GM contamination deliberate if Meacher right
3. UK Supermarkets maintain strict GM-free policy for 2003



TUESDAY 7th Januray at 8pm, programme with the Ignacio Chapela story and more. Repeated on Sunday the 12th of January at 5pm. The next one, about farmers and the next generation of GM, goes out on the 14th, and is repeated on the 19th, same times. According to the Radio Times, "A scientist fears he's going to be thrown out of a 12th-floor window. Pro-labelling grass-roots activists are defeated by a multi-million dollar campaign.  Countries are bullied into dropping legislation. That's just some of the news from the genetically modified food battle. In the first of two programmes, Richard Hollingham asks what's really going on behind the scenes of the GM food industry".


2.Letter: GM contamination

The Independent (London)
January 6, 2003

Sir: The Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, tells us that the findings of widespread and irreversible contamination of oilseed rape crops and related weeds with artificial DNA is information which has been known since the early 1990s (report, 31 December). If this has been known for over a decade, the Government has been deliberately contaminating our environment throughout the Farm Scale Evaluations of GM crops.

The current concern over GM contamination has centred around the presence in the trial crops of herbicide tolerance genes causing increasing weed control problems in Canada. However, GM oilseed rape also contains a gene for the enzyme barnase which destroys living cells. It would be unfortunate indeed if this particular gene were to pop up on a microbial pathogen. When it does, can we sue the Government?



3.UK Supermarkets maintain strict GM-free policy for 2003

6 January 2003 has completed its annual survey of UK supermarkets for their position on genetically modified (GM) food and ingredients for 2003.

The results show that opposition to GM foods is as strong as it was in 1999, when supermarkets removed GM foods and ingredients from their shelves. Just as in 1999, no UK supermarket includes GM food or ingredients in their own-brand products. Increasingly, supermarkets are also specifying GM-free feed for animals producing their meat, milk and eggs.

Supermarkets maintain this position because of the continued rejection by consumers of GM foods. Consumers believe that GM foods are unsafe, untested and may cause environmental damage.

When asked specifically about GM cottonseed oil, which has recently been approved by the UK ACNFP [1, 2], supermarkets stated that they will not be allowing this ingredient in their products.

For more information about the issues with GM crops and GM food, see

The views of each of the supermarkets can be seen in the summary below:


"No Co-op Brand products will be made using any genetically modified  ingredient.",gm


"As pioneers in the food retail industry Iceland were the world's first to ban GM ingredients in our own label range in May 1998."

Marks and Spencer

"All Marks and Spencer food products are made without Genetically Modified ingredients or derivatives, and an increasing range of the animals we use in food production are fed on non-GM diets."


"We listen carefully to our customers' comments and concerns and we have removed GM soya and maize ingredients from our own brand products. This was achieved in 1999."


"In response to overwhelming customer concern we have eliminated GM ingredients from all our own brand food, pet food and dietary supplements."


"Tesco has removed GM ingredients from all own brand products and has increased non-GM options by launching an extensive Organic range."


"No Waitrose own label product produced since the end of March 1999 contains GM ingredients as defined by law..."

"...With effect from the end of September 1999, all the soya and maize used in the production of the oils and additives for Waitrose products came from "traditional" crops."

Notes for Editors

1. Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

2. GM cottonseed oil was approved by the EU, via the UK ACNFP, in December 2002, without testing of safety for humans, animals and the environment.

3. A web version of this article, with hyperlinks, can be found here:


Marcus Williamson
Editor, Genetically Modified Food-News

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