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

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK


Supermarket goes GM-free

Suppliers had to use non-genetically modified ingredients

Sainsbury's says it is the first major UK supermarket chain to have eliminated genetically-modified ingredients from its own-brand products.

Karen Bowerman reports: "The news is likely to please the stores customers"
The company said it had worked with more than 1,000 suppliers to review its whole range of products.

It had clearly labelled all relevant items from its 12,000-plus range until it could secure GM-free alternatives.

It has now successfully reformulated all affected products with non-GM ingredients.

Food under the microscope
Sainsbury's took a lead among UK retailers when it set up its own helpline to inform and gain feedback from consumers on the contentious issue and in March announced it would eliminate all GM ingredients from own-brand products.

It also set up an international consortium of food retailers and industry experts to establish verified sources of non-GM crops and products.

Listening to customers

Dino Adriano, Sainsbury's chief executive, said: "GM has been one of the most important issues for our customers over the past few months and we wanted to make a clear statement.

[ image:  ]
"We have made this a priority and have been working flat out to address customer's concerns. It has been a mammoth task. Sainsbury's has one of the widest ranges of own-brand products in the food retailing industry catering for nine million customers every week."

Mr Adriano said the company had begun to identify, reformulate and label products containing GMs three years ago and by January had reduced the number of GM products to 45.

By June this had been reduced to just six items and the task had now been completed.

Bowing to pressure

All of the other big supermarkets have bowed to customer pressure and are in the process of withdrawing GM produce from their own-brand ranges of food.

One of the UK food industry's leading manufacturers and distributors, Northern Foods, has also stopped using genetically-modified ingredients.

Lord Haskins, Chairman of Northern Foods and an adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, said his company had also been forced to withdraw GM ingredients in the face of the public outcry at "Frankenstein food".

GM protests continue

Meanwhile, campaigners opposed to GM food are continuing to take direct action.

Six people were arrested for criminal damage and violent disorder offences on Sunday after the destruction of a field of genetically modified oil seed rape in Oxfordshire.

At the beginning of June, the manager of the biggest test crop of GM oil seed rape in Britain, in Wiltshire, said he had killed the crop with herbicides because of protests from the trustees of his farm.

Advanced options | Search tips

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

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

18 Jul 99 | UK
GM protesters arrested as crops ripped up

12 Jul 99 | The Company File
Asda beats Sainsbury's in grocery sales

22 Jun 99 | UK
Stores unite for GM-free food

09 Jun 99 | The Company File
Northern Foods bows to GM pressure

02 Jun 99 | The Company File
Sainsbury slashes jobs

Internet Links


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