"Whilst today's announcement is good news, Greenpeace wants Sainsbury's to make all its own brand milk non-GM fed. The campaign certainly won't stop if Sainsbury's refuses to take this step."
City experts believe that the company was under pressure from shareholders concerned about a possible impact on profits.
The article is followed by GP's press release.
Sainsbury's cowed into non-GM milk
By Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor
The Times, June 01, 2004
SAINSBURY'S is to market a new range of GM-free milk after a surge in demand from shoppers.
The company denied last night that it had caved in to Greenpeace, which has waged a high-profile campaign against the store selling milk from cattle fed gentically modified fodder. City experts, however, believe that the company was under pressure from shareholders concerned about a possible impact on profits.
Greenpeace has urged consumers to boycott the chain, daubed Sainsbury's posters with declarations that the company is promoting GM produce and picketed stores.
The milk is from dairy farms where cows are given feed which is guaranteed GM-free under a new farm assurance scheme run by the United Kingdom Agricultural Suppliers Trade Association.
The milk range will be tested in 105 selected stores from the end of this month.
Jon Arnold, head of dairy at Sainsbury's, said: "We have been working with our main suppliers since the end of last year to develop this milk. It is only available in small amounts at the moment, but we will look at expanding the supply if customers demand it."
The announcement was made in advance of talks due to be held today between Sainsbury’s executives and senior officials from Greenpeace.
Greenpeace last night called the move to sell the new milk "a step in the right direction".
GREENPEACE CAMPAIGN SEES SAINSBURY'S TRIAL NON-GM MILK
Tuesday June 1st 2004
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's today announced it is to trial a new range of GM-free milk following a Greenpeace campaign.
Greenpeace has been targeting the company because it’s own-brand milk comes from cows fed on GM. The trial will see the new GM-free range tested in 105 selected stores from the end of June. Co-op and Marks & Spencer have already removed GM from their dairy lines.
Last month as protest saw dozens of Greenpeace pantomime cows invading the Sainsbury’s HQ in Holborn, while Greenpeace volunteers dumped a thousand pints of Sainsbury’s own-brand milk onto the pavement outside. Sainsbury’s stores up and down the country have been invaded by the cows in recent weeks under the banner: 'THERE'S SOMETHING SCARY IN THE DAIRY.'
In response to today's development, Greenpeace campaigner Sarah North said:
"This is a step in the right direction. To their credit Sainsbury’s has worked hard to address the issue of GM in dairy feed. This is the response you would expect from one of the more progressive supermarkets. It's good to see one of the retail giants acknowledge that going non-GM in milk can be achieved."
The Greenpeace campaign has seen milk exchanges conducted outside scores of Sainsbury’s stores where customers are given the chance to exchange GM milk for the organic alternative free of charge.
A new report released last month showed that milk producers could go GM-free at no cost to consumers or dairy farmers. The added cost of less than 1p per litre could be easily absorbed by retailers, whose huge mark-ups on dairy lines could comfortably accommodate the switch.
Sarah North added: "Whilst today's announcement is good news, Greenpeace wants Sainsbury's to make all its own brand milk non-GM fed. The campaign certainly won't stop if Sainsbury's refuses to take this step."
For more information contact Greenpeace on 0207 865 8255
New Greenpeace report 'GM and Dairy Cow Feed' - available from www.greenpeace.org.uk
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