Supermarkets Selling GM Meat


Supermarkets selling meat from animals fed GM crops

Supermarkets across Britain are routinely selling food from animals reared on genetically modified crops without having to declare it on labelling, it can be disclosed.

They have acknowledged that meat, fish, eggs and dairy products on their shelves could contain “indirect” GM ingredients. Every major supermarket in the country said it was unable to provide a guarantee that it was not selling products from animals given GM feed.

Even ''high-end’’ retailers said only the more expensive organic ranges were certain to have been produced without any GM involvement. The disclosures have reignited the debate about the use of genetic technology in food production following health and environmental concerns. Opponents of the technology claimed that retailers were using a loophole in labelling rules to “trick” the public over the link to GM. The disclosures follow the recent resignation of two leading academics from a government panel set up to assess public attitudes to the new technology in protest at “GM propaganda”.

Under European rules, any food containing raw GM ingredients, such as corn or soy, must be labelled as such. There is no legal obligation for food producers, shops and supermarkets to do the same when the GM link is further back in the food chain. It means, for example, that milk from dairy cows reared on modified soy can be sold without any reference to GM on the label.

According to food watchdogs, such products can be exempted from food labelling rules because the original foodstuffs have been broken down into a different form in the animal’s stomach and no longer pose a health risk to consumers. Campaigners said consumers deserved to be given the choice – and knowledge of the “indirect” GM link – through clearer labelling.

Michael Meacher, the former environment minister, said animal feed was being used as a way of “inserting GM into the food chain”. “If people choose to eat GM that is a matter for them,” he said. “But I think we are trying to trick them by making sure it actually happens even though people realise what the implications are.”

Last night supermarkets including Iceland, Aldi and Lidl said they could provide no guarantee that meat, farmed fish, eggs or dairy products on sale did not come from animals given GM feed. Asda said “all livestock” could potentially have been fed GM products. Sainsbury’s and Tesco said poultry and animals for certain high value lines were fed a non-GM diet. But they could not guarantee animal products from most of the rest of the range. M&S and Waitrose, which promote a tougher stance against factory-farmed foods, sell processed food such as chicken sandwiches and ice cream produced from animals fed a GM diet.

Retailers said British farmers relied largely on imported feed, most of which was made from GM soy meal from North or South America. Pete Riley, of the campaign group GM Freeze, said: “No supermarket can claim to be non-GM, they might have aspired to be at one point, but effectively they have been pulling the wool over people’s eyes.”

Shops where there is no policy of selling own brand products from animals that are fed a non-GM diet


No guarantee that meat, farmed fish, eggs and dairy (fresh, frozen and processed) is not from animals fed GM. Iceland do not sell any organic food.


No guarantee in any animal products that GM feed has not been used unless it is organic.

“Aldi UK does not stock any GM products or products containing GM ingredients.

“According to the European Food Safety Authority, GM foods used in animal feed are not considered to be an ingredient of any meat products. Legislation does not require food produced from animals fed GM feed to be authorised or labelled as GM.”


No guarantee that meat, farmed fish, eggs and dairy (fresh, frozen and processed) is not from animals fed GM, unless it is labelled organic.

"To confirm, all livestock could potentially be fed GM feed. This affects all supermarkets. As already stated. We are simply pointing out now that even within non GM soya, there is a high chance of finding traces of GM. So to be certain, for those consumers that "want to be able to choose food that’s guaranteed to be GM free."


No guarantee that meat, farmed fish, eggs and dairy (fresh, frozen and processed) is not from animals fed GM, unless it is labelled organic.

"We can confirm that the majority of products that we sell are own label products. Our suppliers generally have a policy that the animals supplied to them are not fed on GM feed, however it is extremely difficult to confirm at the current time that any feed is completely GM free. Additionally, due to the nature of animal movements it is impossible to guarantee that animals have never been fed GM feed during their life.

"We are continually monitoring the animal feed supply chain situation and the relevant regulations."

Shops where certain products and high value lines are from animals fed a non-GM diet


All poultry (fresh and frozen) and eggs are from animals fed a non-GM diet. All other meat, farmed fish and dairy (fresh, frozen and processed) has no guarantee it is from animals fed a non-GM diet, unless it is labelled organic.

"We do not have any own-brand GM food on our shelves. Any branded products which contain GM are labelled as such. FSA guidance clearly states that products from animals fed on GM feed do not contain GM material and are completely safe. To give customers additional choice, all fresh and frozen poultry and eggs, and all our own brand organic meat are fed non-GM feed."


"All chicken, turkey and duck, fresh and frozen, is from animals that are fed a non-GM diet as are all products in the SO Organic range. Also Taste the Difference pork and bacon, beef and eggs. And farmed salmon and Farm Promise milk (dairy farms in conversion to organic certification).

"Otherwise there is no guarantee own brand milk, other farmed fish or meat, eggs and dairy product are not from animals fed on GM, unless it is from the SO Organic range. Also no guarantee on processed and frozen foods unless from the SO Organic range."


“All Morrisons fresh and frozen poultry, farmed fish, fresh eggs and organic product ranges are from animals that are fed a non GM diet. In line with many of our retail competitors, we can make no guarantee about any other products.

"The European Food Safety Authority have considered all scientific evidence and concluded that GM material does not migrate into the animal or food derived from them."


"In terms of animal feed, our laying hens (i.e. eggs), chicken, duck, farmed fish and New Zealand Lamb are fed a non-GM diet. We keep this situation under regular review. We can guarantee that our frozen salmon, frozen New Zealand Lamb and the New Zealand lamb used in our ready meals are also fed a non-GM diet. In addition, we are working to source a greater amount of our animal feed from the UK.

"One example is our initiative to source British barley and wheat for our pig farms from within a 50 mile radius of the mill used to manufacture the feed. This is the first such project in the UK, gives us greater autonomy in feed sourcing and is non-GM. All organic lines are guaranteed GM feed free."


All chicken, all eggs, all farmed salmon and trout, fresh turkey, fresh duck and New Zealand lamb is from animals fed a non-GM diet. All other meat and dairy (fresh, frozen and processed) has no guarantee it is from animals fed a non-GM diet, unless it is labelled organic. Shops where all animal products are from animals fed a non-GM diet except processed food, non milk dairy and frozen food


All fresh meat, poultry, eggs, farmed fish, milk and frozen chicken are from animals fed a non-GM diet. There is no guarantee on processed dairy (including yogurt and cheese) and other frozen food containing animals products unless it is labelled organic.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent


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An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

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