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Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK

Business: The Company File

Rivals' anger at Sainsbury GM claims

Sainsbury's is sticking by its adverts

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's is facing official complaints from rivals Iceland and Waitrose over claims on genetically modified food made in a new advertising campaign.

Food under the microscope
Iceland and Waitrose have lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority after Sainsbury's ran a series of adverts claiming to be the first major supermarket to make its own-label food without genetically modified ingredients.

Marks and Spencer is also believed to have expressed concern over Sainsbury's adverts.

All three food retailers say they removed GM foods before Sainbury's.

Iceland said it pioneered the initiative in May 1998, after its research showed customers were against GM products.

Managing director Russell Ford said: "We welcome the fact that other supermarkets are following our lead on this issue, but Sainsbury's has only just removed GM ingredients from its own-label range, whereas Iceland did so 15 months ago."

Mr Ford said Sainsbury's was "adding insult to injury" by distributing leaflets saying it had established the first and only GM dedicated helpline.

He said Iceland had set up its Genetics Hotline 11 months ago and had distributed information on GM foods at its 760 stores in March 1998.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said it had no intention of changing the adverts.

Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer announced on Thursday that it has become the first food retailer to remove GM products from feed for animals whose products it uses.

The move is in response to customer demands, the company said.

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