11 December 2000
Turkey farmers deny hiding GM feed

By FWi staff

TURKEY producers representatives have dismissed claims that they are “sneaking” genetically modified material into the food chain.

On Monday (11 December) Greenpeace published a list of outlets where consumers can buy turkeys for Christmas which are not reared on GM feed.

The environmental group said that, despite massive public rejection, GM is still being sneaked into the food chain by being “dumped” into the feed of animals like turkeys.

But a spokeswoman for the British Turkey Information Service, which represents the British Turkey Federation, said producers were doing nothing covertly.

She said: “The British Turkey Federation would never attempt to mislead customers. Members are well aware of what they have to declare on labelling.

And she pointed out that UK and EU authorities permit GM soya in animal feed.

The spokeswoman said the turkey industry was used to being the target of high-profile campaigns at Christmas time.

However, she insisted that the campaign would not affect sales as turkey is the nations Yuletide favourite, with sales of 10 million units.

In its survey, Greenpeace said among top supermarkets only Iceland and the Co-op were found to offer GM-free own-brand turkeys.

Supermarkets whose own-brand turkeys are fed on GM material include Somerfield and Safeway, reports the survey.

Well-known brands found to be feeding GM crops to their turkeys include Bernard Matthews, Buxted, Butterball, Brandons and Twydale, says Greenpeace.

Most animal feed containing soya used in the UK could include GM material.