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.
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.
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.
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.