Milk gets the GM treatment

Related tags Gm Milk Cattle

British Retail Consortium dismisses protests made by the campaign
group Greenpeace over "GM milk". The campaign group has
staged a number of protests over the use of GM feed for dairy cows,
but the retail consortium said the claims lack scientific evidence,
writes Danny Vincent.

Greenpeace has been staging protests almost every month since it was discovered that dairy cows that produce milk for supermarket Sainsbury's own label milk, consume genetically modified feed. The group which has been campaigning against GM foods for over a decade, said consumers should be made aware that what consumers are buying and driking is, as they have termed it, 'GM milk'.

Sarah North, a spokesperson for the campaign group said, "most customers don't even know Sainsbury's own-brand milk is GM. Sainsbury's says it only sells the best quality food, but when it comes to milk it has a long way to go."

However, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), that represents UK retailers, claims that the connection between GM feed and the milk that consumers purchase has been made unfairly. The group said in a statement earlier in the week, "the majority of UK retailers believe Greenpeace campaigners are creating unnecessary food fear through misleading claims - without scientific foundation - by suggesting that some retailers are selling GM milk."

Although the campaigners call the milk GM, according to scientific research, the GM feed does not have an affect on the milk's content.

The announcement made by the retail group is the latest stage in a war of words where retailers have been dubbed as irresponsible for not doing more to make consumers aware of the origins of the feed.

"GM is getting into our food chain because GM crops are being fed to farm animals like chickens, pigs and cows and so getting into our milk, eggs, cheese and meat. There is no requirement for foods from animals fed on GM-crops to be labelled as GM,"​ Greenpeace argues.

But Kevin Hawkins the general director of BRC disagreed. He said: "The milk in question contains no GM protein and is no way classifiable as a GM product. Greenpeace's claims are without scientific foundation and are misleading. They are pursuing their own campaigning and fund raising agenda."

New rules enforced last month for the labelling of GM ingredients of foodstuffs also applied to feed. Any feed and food containing over 0.9 per cent of GM material will have to be labelled as such.

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