04 June 1998
Government and food industry
‘out of step’ with public on GM foods
GOVERNMENT and the food industry are out of step with consumers on genetically modified (GM) foods, according to a Guardian/ICM poll.
The poll comes a week after the European Union tightened its labelling laws on GM products – amid claims that the rules would be ineffectual.
Some 85% of respondents thought GM foods should be separated from normal crops at source, and 95% wanted foods derived from GM crops to be labelled. A further 89% said that, even where there was uncertainty as to whether a food came from a GM crop, it should be clearly labelled as containing GM ingredients.
The new EU legislation does not insist on segregation of GM crops and demands labelling only of food products which are proven to contain GM materials. Greenpeace argues that 95% of all foods on supermarket shelves are expected to contain oils and additives that are derived from GM foods, but do not show up as such after processing.
Jack Cunningham, agriculture minister, said the Government was determined that GM products faced the toughest scientific checks before they were allowed into fields and the food chain. He said he was also committed to ensuring consumers had the information they needed to choose not to eat those products.
The poll comes as Monsanto launches a £10 million “information campaign” today to persuade the public of the benefits of such foods.
- The Guardian 04/06/98 page 12, page 14-15 (G2)