11-04-2013 18:35 PM | Arable, Cereal, Crops, News, Poultry

Tesco joins Morrison’s and Asda in allowing the use of GM soya in poultry feed



Tesco joins Morrison’s and Asda in allowing the use of GM soya in <a href='javascript:void(0)' class='keyword' id='27' style='text-decoration:underline;color:blue' >poultry </a>feed
Tesco and the Co-operative are the latest of the supermarket chains to confirm that poultry feed will no longer be GM-free and follows decisions already taken by Morrisons and Asda.

High protein (hipro) soya meal typically makes up between 10 and 25 per cent of a poultry diet. Soya is the most widely used, suitable and cost effective protein source currently available for use in poultry diets.

But with soya growers in the Americas growing more and more GM varieties, it has become increasingly difficult to source the non-GM soya needed to produce the non-GM feed that egg producers and others in the poultry sector are still required to use by many leading supermarkets.

Ironically, the non-GM feed demanded by major retailers is not actually GM free.


Many casual observers may assume that non-GM means a complete absence of GM material, but under European Union legislation non-GM soya is permitted to contain up to 0.9 per cent unintentional GM contamination. This allowance is intended to reflect the assumption that reasonable precautions should have been taken to prevent GM contamination.

However, it means that non-GM soya is not necessarily GM free.

Even with this permitted allowance, non-GM soya is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. The UK poultry industry was instructed through retail supply chains to source soya only from Brazil, and only from dedicated supply chains intended to be clear of GM contamination - supply chains thoroughly audited by third party auditors. But more and more soya grown in Brazil is GM. In global terms the market for non-GM soya is small.

It was inevitable that Tesco would have to fall in line with other supermarkets and allow the use of GM soya in poultry feed.

Tim Smith, Tesco group technical director said on the website www.tescofoodnews.com: “Customers sometimes ask us about the use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in poultry feed.

We have answered with a guarantee that our own-label fresh and frozen poultry and eggs are only fed non-GM feed and we wrote it into the contracts we have with our poultry and egg suppliers.

Over recent weeks UK poultry and egg suppliers have been telling retailers that it is increasingly difficult for them to guarantee that the feed they use is entirely GM free, for two reasons.

First, soya is the best source of protein to feed livestock.

And as soya producers are increasingly turning to GM soya, it means they are producing less non-GM soya, so there simply isn’t enough non-GM feed available. It is a global supply issue – 80 per cent of the world’s soya is now modified. Farmers across the world choose to grow modified soya for a number of reasons, but usually because modified crops are more resistant to certain pests and diseases.

Second, because so much soya is modified and because of the way crops are planted, processed and transported, it is possible that non-GM soya crops contain low levels of GM soya. The new DNA testing regime we have put in place has identified that the risk of finding GM material in non-GM feed is increasing.

We could not continue with a promise we cannot be sure it is possible to keep and we want to be upfront about the changes we are making.

This does not mean that the poultry and eggs we sell will be genetically modified in any way, just an ingredient in the feed which they eat. The meat from a chicken fed on modified soya feed is no different to the meat of a chicken fed on non-GM feed.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is clear that DNA from modified soya is not present in the meat of animals fed on it, nor in animal products such as eggs or milk. Genetic modification affects only the crop used in the feed.

And the FSA is also clear that there is absolutely no risk to health from eating meat from animals that have been fed GM feed. Indeed, meat products from animals fed on GM crops have been a standard part of many supermarket ranges for some time.

We want to be clear with customers about food and that’s why we’re removing the GM-free guarantee for poultry and eggs. We are not the first UK supermarket to reach the conclusion that a non-GM policy on poultry feed is unsustainable, and we won’t be the last. Asda and Morrisons already allow GM feed for poultry products, and our suppliers also work with other UK retailers.

What does this mean for you and your food? It will not have any impact on the safety and quality of the food or its taste. As a food retailer, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the food we sell. Modification does not have any effect on the animal that consumes it, or the person who eats the animal. So the feed our suppliers use for our own-brand ranges can no longer have a GM-free guarantee. We do make one clear exception: that our organic meat will continue to be fed non-GM feed. This means our customers will still be able to purchase chicken and other poultry products that have not been fed on GM feed if that is their preference.”

NFU chief poultry adviser Kelly Watson responded to the news by saying: “The NFU welcomes the announcement by Tesco on allowing the use of GM soya in poultry rations. The poultry industry has been struggling to secure supplies of non-GM soya as Brazilian farmers move to more sustainable GM alternatives, therefore it can no longer guarantee that the feed only contains non-GM soya. Tesco should be congratulated for taking this proactive approach and being open with its customers.”

“GM crops are highly regulated in terms of health and environmental safety and have been used to feed other livestock destined for the retail supply chain round the world for the last 15 years during which no ill effects have been reported or robustly reflected in peer reviewed research. The independent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established in 2007 that recombinant DNA from GM plants used in feed does not end up in the final meat, milk or eggs. Importantly just like DNA and proteins that all animals ingest whenever they eat, it is rapidly broken down in the gut.”

GM Freeze meanwhile has challenged certain assertions made by Tesco in regard to the supply of non-GM soya for poultry feed and say they are inaccurate and will mislead customers.

The three contentious claims are that:

1/ there simply isn't enough non-GM feed available.

Current information from non-GM soya producers in Brazil (the main source of non-GM soya for animal feed) indicates that non GM soya production in Brazil is 20.8m tonnes from 9 states but only 11.7m tonnes are certified non GM.

This is over 25% of the total crops and adequate to meet EU requirements.

Therefore if Tesco were to be proactive in the market they could source non-GM feed and deliver what their customers want.

2/ vDNA from modified soya is not present in the meat of animals fed on it

This statement contradicts the latest advice from the Food Standards Agency(FSA) which states: "It is therefore possible that DNA fragments derived from GM plant materials may occasionally be detected in animal tissues, in the same way that DNA fragments derived from non-GM plant materials can be detected in these same tissues."

Indeed recent statements reporting on EU funded research made in 2012 went further than this:

"There are also indications showing that genes from Bt (unique to Bt maize for example) can be found in the blood and also the proteins and antibodies against those proteins can be found in the blood of animal that have eaten this. That means there are components that can be transferred from the food/fed to the body and then maybe further onto to the next level that is eating this".

3/ Farmers across the world choose to grow modified soya for a number of reasons, but usually because modified crops are more resistant to certain pests and diseases.

This statement is incorrect. The only GM soya which is commercially cultivated in anywhere in the world is herbicide tolerant or with altered oil composition. There are no GM soya varieties available to farmers which are either disease resistant or insect resistant.

In other EU countries major companies such as the German dairy company Campina has been pursuing a "no biotech" policy on animal feed since 2009 and the French supermarket giant Carrefour launched a similar policy in 2010. Recent research by the FSA showed two thirds of UK consumers want labelling of animal products in GM feed has been used in their production. Tesco's statement made no such undertaking and therefore GM fed poultry will not be labelled.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said: "Tesco have badly let down their customers by changing their policy on GM in poultry feed. For the last decade or more they could have invested money in securing non-GM soya supplies as Carrefour have done in France but instead they have ignored their customers concern.

Tesco's then add insult to industry by issuing a misleading and inaccurate statement in an attempt to justify their decision.

A big company like Tesco could and should be able to source non-GM animal feed through established certification routes from Brazil and label their products as non-GM fed.

Tesco's judgment on investment has been questioned by shareholders following their unsuccessful attempts to gain footholds in the US and Japanese markets and the decision to support GM production could be as damaging to consumer confidence".

Tim J Smith, Tesco group technical director said: "Over recent weeks UK poultry and egg suppliers have been telling retailers that it is increasingly difficult for them to guarantee that the feed they use is entirely GM free, for two reasons."

"First, soya is the best source of protein to feed livestock. And as soya producers are increasingly turning to GM soya, it means they are producing less non-GM soya, so there simply isn’t enough non-GM feed available. It is a global supply issue – 80 per cent of the world’s soya is now modified. Farmers across the world choose to grow modified soya for a number of reasons, but usually because modified crops are more resistant to certain pests and diseases.

"Second, because so much soya is modified and because of the way crops are planted, processed and transported, it is possible that non-GM soya crops contain low levels of GM soya. The new DNA testing regime we have put in place has identified that the risk of finding GM material in non-GM feed is increasing."

The products will not be labelled as GM-fed despite recent research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) showing two thirds of UK consumers want labelling of animal products if GM feed has been used in their production.

Smith said: "We want to be clear with customers about food and that’s why we’re removing the GM-free guarantee for poultry and eggs. We are not the first UK supermarket to reach the conclusion that a non-GM policy on poultry feed is unsustainable, and we won’t be the last. Asda and Morrisons already allow GM feed for poultry products, and our suppliers also work with other UK retailers."

But Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK said Tesco's decision was 'a kick in the teeth for all customers who want to eat GM-free food'.

"It is sad to see a major retailer caving into pressure from Monsanto and its allies. Tesco’s false statements about GM soya on its website show it is not even willing to be honest with its customers".

GM soya has been genetically engineered by Monsanto to be tolerant to its own-brand weedkiller RoundUp.

The practice of blanket spraying of these GM crop with RoundUp has led to widespread problems in North and South America with “superweeds” which become resistant due to blanket spraying.

High protein (hipro) soya meal typically makes up between 10 and 25 per cent of a poultry diet. Soya is the most widely used, suitable and cost effective protein source currently available for use in poultry diets.

But with soya growers in the Americas growing more and more GM varieties, it will become increasingly difficult to source the non-GM soya needed to produce the non-GM feed that egg producers and others in the poultry sector are still required to use by many leading supermarkets. Ironically, the non-GM feed demanded by major retailers is not actually GM free.

Many casual observers may assume that non-GM means a complete absence of GM material, but under European Union legislation non-GM soya is permitted to contain up to 0.9 per cent unintentional GM contamination. This allowance is intended to reflect the assumption that reasonable precautions should have been taken to prevent GM contamination. However, it means that non-GM soya is not necessarily GM free.

Even with this permitted allowance, non-GM soya is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. The UK poultry industry was instructed through retail supply chains to source soya only from Brazil, and only from dedicated supply chains intended to be clear of GM contamination - supply chains thoroughly audited by third party auditors. But more and more soya grown in Brazil is GM. In global terms the market for non-GM soya is small.

It was inevitable that Tesco would have to fall in line with other supermarkets and allow the use of GM soya in poultry feed.

NFU chief poultry adviser Kelly Watson responded to the news by saying: “The NFU welcomes the announcement by Tesco on allowing the use of GM soya in poultry rations. The poultry industry has been struggling to secure supplies of non-GM soya as Brazilian farmers move to more sustainable GM alternatives, therefore it can no longer guarantee that the feed only contains non-GM soya. Tesco should be congratulated for taking this proactive approach and being open with its customers.”

“GM crops are highly regulated in terms of health and environmental safety and have been used to feed other livestock destined for the retail supply chain round the world for the last 15 years during which no ill effects have been reported or robustly reflected in peer reviewed research. The independent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established in 2007 that recombinant DNA from GM plants used in feed does not end up in the final meat, milk or eggs. Importantly just like DNA and proteins that all animals ingest whenever they eat, it is rapidly broken down in the gut.”

GM Freeze meanwhile has challenged certain assertions made by Tesco in regard to the supply of non-GM soya for poultry feed and say they are inaccurate and will mislead customers.

The three contentious claims are that:

1/ there simply isn't enough non-GM feed available.

Current information from non-GM soya producers in Brazil (the main source of non-GM soya for animal feed) indicates that non GM soya production in Brazil is 20.8m tonnes from 9 states but only 11.7m tonnes are certified non GM.

This is over 25% of the total crops and adequate to meet EU requirements.

Therefore if Tesco were to be proactive in the market they could source non-GM feed and deliver what their customers want.

2/ vDNA from modified soya is not present in the meat of animals fed on it.

This statement contradicts the latest advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which states: "It is therefore possible that DNA fragments derived from GM plant materials may occasionally be detected in animal tissues, in the same way that DNA fragments derived from non-GM plant materials can be detected in these same tissues."

Indeed recent statements reporting on EU funded research made in 2012 went further than this: "There are also indications showing that genes from Bt (unique to Bt maize for example) can be found in the blood and also the proteins and antibodies against those proteins can be found in the blood of animal that have eaten this. That means there are components that can be transferred from the food/fed to the body and then maybe further onto to the next level that is eating this".

3/ Farmers across the world choose to grow modified soya for a number of reasons, but usually because modified crops are more resistant to certain pests and diseases.

This statement is incorrect. The only GM soya which is commercially cultivated in anywhere in the world is herbicide tolerant or with altered oil composition. There are no GM soya varieties available to farmers which are either disease resistant or insect resistant.

In other EU countries major companies such as the German dairy company Campina has been pursuing a "no biotech" policy on animal feed since 2009 and the French supermarket giant Carrefour launched a similar policy in 2010. Recent research by the FSA showed two thirds of UK consumers want labelling of animal products in GM feed has been used in their production. Tesco's statement made no such undertaking and therefore GM fed poultry will not be labelled.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said: "Tesco have badly let down their customers by changing their policy on GM in poultry feed. For the last decade or more they could have invested money in securing non-GM soya supplies as Carrefour have done in France but instead they have ignored their customers concern.

Tesco's then add insult to industry by issuing a misleading and inaccurate statement in an attempt to justify their decision.

A big company like Tesco could and should be able to source non-GM animal feed through established certification routes from Brazil and label their products as non-GM fed.

Tesco's judgment on investment has been questioned by shareholders following their unsuccessful attempts to gain footholds in the US and Japanese markets and the decision to support GM production could be as damaging to consumer confidence".

Comments

11-04-2013 21:44 PM | Posted by not buying it
bye bye Tesco



GM Freeze press release

Immediate release 11tth April 2013
Tesco Statement on Non GM poultry Feed contains inaccurate and misleading
information

GM Freeze has challenged certain assertions made by Tesco in regard to the
supply of non-GM soya for poultry feed and say they are inaccurate and will
mislead customers[1] .

The three contentious claims are that:

. there simply isn't enough non-GM feed available.

Current information from non-GM soya producers in Brazil (the main source of
non-GM soya for animal feed) indicates that non GM soya production in Brazil
is 20.8m tonnes from 9 states but only 11.7m tonnes are certified non GM .
This is over 25% of the total crops and adequate to meet EU requirements.
Therefore if Tesco were to be proactive in the market they could source
non-GM feed and deliver what their customers want.[2]


. DNA from modified soya is not present in the meat of animals fed on
it

This statement contradicts the latest advice from the Food Standards Agency
(FSA) which states:

"It is therefore possible that DNA fragments derived from GM plant
materials may occasionally be detected in animal tissues, in the same way
that DNA fragments derived from non-GM plant materials can be detected in
these same tissues."[3]

Indeed recent statements reporting on EU funded research made in 2012 went
further than this:

"There are also indications showing that genes from Bt (unique to Bt maize
for example) can be found in the blood and also the proteins and antibodies
against those proteins can be found in the blood of animal that have eaten
this. That means there are components that can be transferred from the
food/fed to the body and then maybe further onto to the next level that is
eating this".{4]


. Farmers across the world choose to grow modified soya for a number
of reasons, but usually because modified crops are more resistant to certain
pests and diseases.

This statement is incorrect. The only GM soya which is commercially
cultivated in anywhere in the world is herbicide tolerant or with altered
oil composition. There are no GM soya varieties available to farmers which
are either disease resistant or insect resistant [5].

In other EU countries major companies such as the German dairy company
Campina has been pursuing a "no biotech" policy on animal feed since 2009
and the French supermarket giant Carrefour launched a similar policy in
2010[7]. Recent research by the FSA showed two thirds of UK consumers want
labelling of animal products in GM feed has been used in their production
[6]. Tesco's statement made no such undertaking and therefore GM fed poultry
will not be labelled.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said

"Tesco have badly let down their customers by changing their policy on GM in
poultry feed. For the last decade or more they could have invested money in
securing non-GM soya supplies as Carrefour have done in France but instead
they have ignored their customers concern.

Tesco's then add insult to industry by issuing a misleading and inaccurate
statement in an attempt to justify their decision.

A big company like Tesco could and should be able to source non-GM animal
feed through established certification routes from Brazil and label their
products as non-GM fed.

Tesco's judgment on investment has been questioned by shareholders following
their unsuccessful attempts to gain footholds in the US and Japanese markets
and the decision to support GM production could be as damaging to consumer
confidence".

ENDS

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341065

Notes to editors
1. See An Update on Poultry Feed
http://tescofoodnews.com/news/an-update-on-our-poultry-feed/

2.Information from IMCOPA - Brazilian non-GM soya supplier. Copy available
on request.

3. See http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/gm/gmanimal

4. Statement made at press conference following the GMSAFood project
conference in May 2012 by Professor Ashild Krogdahl of the Norwegian
Veterinary School 6th May 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nYiRJS-CZM

The GMSAFood project partners are: the Medical University of Vienna;
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia);
the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science; the Irish Agriculture Food and
Development Authority; the Central Food Research Institute Hungary and
TroykaTurkey.

5. See ISAAA data base
http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/advsearch/default.asp?CropID=19&Trai
tTypeID=Any&DeveloperID=Any&CountryID=Any&ApprovalTypeID=3

6. Food Standards Agency, 9 January 2013. GM Labelling: Exploring public
responses to the labelling of GM food and the use of GM-free labelling.
Qualitative and Quantitative Findings were based on research carried out by
Define Research and Insight.

7. See
http://www.just-food.com/news/carrefour-launches-non-gm-labels_id112924.aspx
17-04-2013 13:55 PM | Posted by WE WANT NO GMO
Taking away people's choice is an extremely stupid business decision. Consumers do not want GMO. I do not want GMO. Bye bye supermarkets. Hello grass fed meat.
18-04-2013 00:13 AM | Posted by Kev C
Glad to the article included the Gm-freeze information. Well done Pete.
As for Tesco's and the rest its time they all lost their poultry trade with the public until they reverse their decision on GM poultry feed.
It is possible to obtain the GM free feed and it doesn't cost a fortune. In fact the farmers would much rather grow GM free soya as its cheaper than the Monsanto patented variety and doesn't need Monsanto's patented chemicals either.

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