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Government lists GMO-free soya suppliers

30 March 1998
Government lists GMO-free soya suppliers

IN a bid to placate nervous consumers, the Government today released a list of soya-bean growers and distributors that can offer smaller retailers and manufacturers supplies of non-genetically modified soya.

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Government lists GMO-free soya suppliers

30 March 1998
Government lists GMO-free soya suppliers

By Boyd Champness

IN a bid to placate nervous consumers, the Government today released a list of soya-bean growers and distributors that can offer smaller retailers and manufacturers supplies of non-genetically modified soya.

Environmentalists and consumer groups have raised concerns about GM crops such as soya and maize, although there is no scientific proof to suggest that they are harmful to humans or the environment.

The planting of GM crops has boomed throughout North America, where there is no segregation system in place – meaning soya or maize from GM crops is regularly mixed with non-GM crops.

The mixing of crops has caused a furore in Europe, where consumers are more discerning than in North America.

European Union legislation is being discussed in May, with the most likely result being that products will have to be labelled as to whether they “do” or “may” contain GM material.

But the problem is that non-segregation has become so commonplace in North America that a large majority of products on UK shelves “may” contain GM material.

Jeff Rooker, food safety minister, also pointed out that the UK was in no position to demand crop segregation because of World Trade Organisation rules.

Releasing the list of growers and distributors, Mr Rooker said the Government was “committed” to the principle of consumer choice where possible.

“I hope it will help the smaller UK food suppliers in particular. This is an important step in helping market forces respond to consumer demand,” he said.

In January, Mr Rooker held a meeting with interested parties to explore options available for sourcing non-GM supplies of soya.

Following that, the Government met American and Canadian authorities who helped identify growers offering supplies of non-GM soya.

Mr Rooker said the list should help smaller companies, such as the wholefood industry, meet the demands of its consumers.

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