11th April 2013
GeneWatch UK today condemned Tesco for abandoning its requirement for GM-free feed to be used for chicken and eggs sold in its stores (1). In future Tesco will sell chicken and eggs fed on Monsanto's GM soya imported from North and South America. These products will not be labelled as GM-fed despite recent research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) showing two thirds of UK consumers want labelling of animal products if GM feed has been used in their production.
"Tesco's decision is a kick in the teeth for all its customers who want to eat GM-free food" said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK "It is sad to see a major retailer caving into pressure from Monsanto and its allies. Tesco's false statements about GM soya on its website show it is not even willing to be honest with its customers".
Tesco's statement justifying its decision makes false claims that GM soya is resistant to pests and diseases (not true - it is resistant to weedkillers) and that there is a shortage of non-GM soya (also untrue as plenty of non-GM soya is grown in Brazil). In reality, supplies are driven by demand and major supermarket chains such as Carrefour in France now sell products labelled "free from GM feed" (2).
GM soya has been genetically engineered by Monsanto to be tolerant to its own-brand weedkiller RoundUp. The practice of blanket spraying of these GM crop with RoundUp has led to widespread problems in North and South America with "superweeds" which become resistant due to blanket spraying (3).
For further information contact:
Dr Helen Wallace: 01298-24300 (office); 07903-311584 (mobile)
Notes for Editors
(3) BBC Superweeds pose GM-resistant challenge for farmers. 19th September 2012. On: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19594335