Retailers follow Tesco in dropping non-GM feed in poultry

More leading supermarkets have dropped requirements for non-GM soya in their poultry rations, joining Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Sainsbury’s, The Co-op and Marks and Spencer all announced on Friday (12 April) that they can no longer guarantee the integrity of non-GM soya. The Co-op added that the difficult situation had been exacerbated by delays in the transportation of certified non-GM soya from Brazil. “Our own-brand chicken and turkey supplier has informed us that they are no longer able to guarantee that the animal feed they are using is non-GM,” a spokesperson for the firm said. “We are no longer able to guarantee that our own-brand chicken and turkey has been fed a non-GM diet.

“We have looked for alternative ways to source non-GM feed, but the limited supplies of guaranteed non-GM feed available, and the potential increased costs to farmers and customers, means this is not feasible.”

Marks and Spencer, in a statement on its website, said the change was “absolutely necessary”.

“We can assure you that this will not affect the quality or provenance of the food that you buy from Marks and Spencer, which will continue to be produced to the high standards that you expect from us. And our commitment to only using non-GM food ingredients remains unchanged.”

From Monday, Sainsbury’s fresh chicken sold under its “by Sainsbury’s” and “basics” ranges will be from birds not guaranteed to be fed GM-free feed. The supermarket also said: “The shortage is less immediate on eggs, but from around mid-May we anticipate that this will be in the same position.”

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s added that its “Taste the Difference” and “So Organic” or equivalent ranges for both egg and chicken would still be fed non-GM.

Waitrose told Poultry World that it had no plans to change its current policy of insisting on GM-free rations for its poultrymeat and eggs.

The move by supermarkets has been welcomed by industry bodies, and fiercely criticised by anti-GM groups.

The Co-op, like Sainsbury’s and Tesco, has confirmed that organic meat will continue to be fed non-GM.

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