All major food producers in the UK have pledged to keep their products free of genetically modified ingredients, according to a survey by Marketing Week.
Thirty top UK food manufacturers claim they are all committed to phasing out GM ingredients from their products, and in the case of companies which do not use GM ingredients, they will try to keep their brands GM-free. All the major supermarket chains also say they will drop GM from their own-label lines.
GM products appear to be all but dead in the UK, following a concerted three-year campaign by pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the news media. The survey findings are a serious setback for the Government, which is committed to demonstrating that GM foods are safe, healthy and tasty.
Companies vowing to phase out GM accept the policy will be difficult to police, since much GM produce is mixed with non-GM.
Many of the producers say they would like to reintroduce GM if it becomes publicly acceptable. But Greenpeace campaign director John Sauven says: “Food producers have invested a lot of money in GM research and will have an uphill struggle to bring GM back. They will have to bring in an overwhelming benefit.”
The survey results are in line with similar research carried out last week by pressure group Greenpeace, though their findings were dismissed by the food industry mouthpiece the Food and Drink Federation.
A spokeswoman for FDF, which claims to represent 90 per cent of UK food producers, said the majority of its members had made no such commitment to going non-GM.