Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, April 29, 1999 Published at 01:04 GMT 02:04 UK


UK

Nestle joins GM ban

Nestle will either remove or clearly label GM ingredients

Nestle has become the latest company to ban genetically-modified ingredients in the UK - as the Prime Minister called for a more balanced debate on GM foods.

Food under the microscope
Nestle UK said on Wednesday that, in response to consumer concerns, it would either replace GM ingredients or clearly label them where a substitute could not be found.

The move came shortly after similar announcements from Tesco, Birds' Eye Walls and Van Den Burgh foods, which makes the Beanfeast soya ready-meals.


Nicola Carslaw: "The Government says public concern has been whipped up by scaremongering"
Birds Eye said the move was in response to consumers' concerns about the use of GM ingredients, and that it still supported the technology.

Tesco also said the move had been prompted by consumer concerns, citing a survey which said one in four shoppers wanted GM material removed from its shelves.

Environmental charity Greenpeace welcomed the new bans, saying the government is becoming increasingly isolated over GM foods.

Policy defended

A spokesman said: "The government is now so far out on a limb it's unbelievable and I don't think it's sustainable any longer."


[ image: Response
Response "is to consumer concerns, not safety"
But in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair defended government policy.

Responding to a claim by Tory leader William Hague that there was "mounting public anxiety on the subject", he said the debate was becoming increasingly hysterical.

He said the decision by Tesco to withdraw products containing GM foods had been a "commercial decision" and had nothing to do with safety.

There would be no crops or foods available that had not been "rigorously tested", he said.

And he called for the argument to be conducted "on science, not scares".


[ image: Tesco is the last major store to ban own-brand GM foods]
Tesco is the last major store to ban own-brand GM foods
Cabinet Office Minister Dr Jack Cunningham echoed Mr Blair's stance in a later meeting with a committee of MPs.

He said labelling of GM foods had been introduced so people could make a choice.

But he said the retailers were making "commercial decisions" on whether or not to sell GM products, based solely on consumer attitudes.

Companies had told him it did not imply "misgivings about safety or ethics", he said.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

28 Apr 99 | Business
GM food policy to stay

27 Apr 99 | UK Politics
GM regulation on horizon

26 Apr 99 | Health
Meningitis fear over GM food

21 Apr 99 | UK
Chefs take GM food off the menu

15 Apr 99 | UK
GM tests get go-ahead

06 Apr 99 | Food under the microscope
Better test for GM foods





Internet Links


Greenpeace statements on GM foods

Soil Association

Tesco

Monsanto

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Nestle


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online