Wednesday, March 18, 1998 Published at 05:38 GMT
Iceland freezes out 'genetic' goods
Iceland's own-brand ingredients will not be genetically modified
The frozen food chain, Iceland, is annnouncing the move on Wednesday, claiming a breakthrough in the way it traces back the origins of its products.
The company says it will guarantee that none of its own-label goods will contain genetically altered ingredients from May 1.
The chain's Chief Executive Malcolm Walker says he has been motivated by the "terror" of gene technology.
Because the UK's main supplier, America, mixes conventional and altered beans there has been no way of knowing which food has genetically altered ingredients.
Iceland says it has spent time and money tracking down suppliers outside America who do not use gene technology and introducing gene testing measures to the supply chain.
"As far as consumer choice is concerned unless we stop now we won't have any choice."
One of Iceland's scientific consultants, Dr Michael Antoniou, said he has given his services for free because of his concerns about genetically modified food.
He said: "The risks associated with genetic engineering in food prooduction are not worth taking because the technology and our genetic understanding is far too crude and rudimentary."
Spokeswoman Julie Sheppard said: "The rest of the food industry said this was impossible, impracticable and too costly but here we see Iceland blazing a trail."
But the food industry insists it would not sell any product that was unsafe, stressing everything on the shelves has been passed by strict regulatory bodies.