Tesco denies back-tracking on GMs


10 January 2000



Tesco denies back-tracking on GMs

By Isabel Davies

TESCO has denied back-tracking on its ban on produce from land
previously used for GM crop trials after saying that it would be in
place only for one season.

The ban was revealed by Lord Melchett, the director of Greenpeace
UK, during a presentation at the Oxford Farming Conference last week.

Lord Melchett claimed the ban meant that producers faced the
prospect of never being able to sell food grown on land previously
used for GM trials.

Tesco subsequently confirmed it was in the process of informing
suppliers it would reject vegetables and salad crops from land
previously for GM trials.

But this week the supermarket giant said in a statement that the
ban would only last for one year after land had been planted with GM
crops.

“Fresh produce supplied to Tesco must not have been grown on land
used for GM crop trials without at least one seasons separation,” the
statement said.

A company spokesman said Lord Melchett original announcement had
been based on a draft letter which was later changed.

There was no scientific evidence on which to base the
measure, he admitted.

But it was a precautionary step because customers wanted reassuring
that fresh produce did not contain residual material of GM crops, he
said.

“There is no scientific evidence to suggest GM ingredients are
harmful but no one can deny customers are concerned about GM
technology,” he added.

It was common sense for Tesco to provide its customers with what
they wanted and the supermarket was not trying to stand in the way of
science.

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