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04/12/1999 01:33 PM     print story email story      

European Supermarkets Pledge Biotech-Free Food

Headed by Sainsbury of the UK, seven European supermarket chains from six countries formed a consortium to jointly source non-genetically modified (GM) food ingredients and additives. The European Union supermarket association, Eurocommerce, called this a move of "major significance."

"Many of our customers clearly want to choose GM-free food," a Sainsbury spokesperson said. "We decided we could only be sure of eliminating GM derivatives by tracking ingredients all the way from the farmer's field to the supermarket shelf and we would only get the buying power to do this by working together with supermarket chains in other European countries."

The supermarkets will make direct, long-term agreements with farmers who guarantee non-GM crops, and track them right through the production process. Sainsbury is examining foods containing soy oil and lecithin, neither of which yield to scientific testing for the presence of GM material. They will eliminate product lines when they cannot find alternatives to GM foods, including milk and meat products produced from animals fed on GM food.

The other supermarkets are: Marks and Spencer (UK), Carrefour (France), Effelunga (Italy), Migros (Switzerland), Delhaize (Belgium) and Superquinn (Ireland).

British food retailer, Iceland, reported a nine percent sales increase for one week when it banned GM foods.

Source: Environment News Service: http://ens.lycos.com

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