Sainsbury’s has set up a dedicated helpline for customers with enquiries about genetically modified foods (GM), amid controversy linking its former chairman with a biotechnology company.
The retailing giant says it has set up the helpline, an extension of its own customer services line, in response to confusion generated by the “intense level of media coverage” and unprecedented levels of enquiries.
In recent days, one in three calls to the company’s existing helpline have been about GM foods.
However, the new phone line also comes after revelations that junior science minister and former Sainsbury’s chairman Lord Sainsbury of Turville has owned a stake in a bio-research company for 11 years. The company, Diatech, holds the patent on a key gene in the genetic modification of some foods.
Sainsbury’s denies the new help- line is a PR response. Director of customer relations Mike Connolly says: “Genetic modification is not a new issue but the intense level of media coverage over the past few days has clearly confused our customers and the public in general.
“We pride ourselves on giving our customers clear information and we have decided the best way to help them with their queries on this issue is to set up a dedicated information line.”