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Tuesday, 7 March, 2000, 12:44 GMT
Food firms 'turn back on GM produce'
GM protesters
Protesters against GM foods
Food firms are turning their backs on genetically modified ingredients and derivatives, according to a survey by a leading environmental group.

The survey, published by Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), comes as an all-party committee of MP's calls for "rational" debate on the GM issue.

The All-party Agriculture Committee has said it would help both those who back growing GM crops and those who do not.

The MPs said they wanted to ensure that consumers and farmers alike could make informed choices about the new technology.

They said confusion and hysteria over the foods had blinded people over the real issues.

"The first GM product to reach the shops was a tomato paste, launched with an education campaign, rewarded with satisfactory sales but withdrawn in the wake of panic whipped up by campaigns against `Frankenstein foods'," the committee said.

The report also urged ministers to work within the EU to establish early definitions of "non-GM" and "GM-free" labels to apply throughout Europe.

FoEE say their survey of leading food manufactureres shows most of them are aware of opposition to GM produce throughout Europe and have been forced to take action.

The results coincide with the launch of a new campaign in 21 countries across the Continent calling for a halt to the pollution of food and the environment by GMOs.

Food manufacturers are being forced to listen to European consumers increasingly concerned about potential health and environmental damage from GM food and crops

Liana Stupples of FoEE
The FoEE survey said although consumers do not want GM food they are still eating food made with GM crops.

The report says many companies are not sourcing derivatives such as oils and lecithin from GM free crops.

Because derivatives do not contain DNA or protein, they are not subject to EU GM labelling regulations - so there is no legal requirement to tell consumers if the food they are eating contains them.

Liana Stupples, GM campaign co-ordinator for FoEE said: "This survey shows how food manufacturers are being forced to listen to European consumers increasingly concerned about potential health and environmental damage from GM food and crops.

"However, food containing GM ingredients and derivatives and ingredients from animals reared on GM animal feed is still being sold to European consumers who don't want it.

"And pollution from genetically modified crops poses a major threat to non-GM food sources.

"Consumers must continue to make it clear that they do not want these foods. Then companies and politicians will be forced to act."
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See also:

06 Apr 99 |  Food under the microscope
Genetically-modified Q&A
06 Apr 99 |  Food under the microscope
GM food: A political hot potato
17 Feb 00 |  Sci/Tech
Farmers 'abandon GM crops'
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