NOTE: Thanks to Bengt Ingerstam, President of the Swedish Consumer Coalition, for this great news – see below.

Our understanding is that GM grain is now not going to be imported by Swedish livestock producers or food manufacturers, so all Swedish food will be non-GM!

Some GM grain had been coming in to Sweden for a minority of large farmers involved in intensive pig rearing, even though the vast majority of Swedish farmers refused to use GM feed because of strong consumer resistance.

The change from 1st of May will mean that GM grain will no longer be imported at all into Sweden, either for the food or feed supply chains, leaving Sweden completely GM-free bar some imported foods and some BASF (non-food) GM potatoes – BASF will cultivate 5 hectares up in the north of Sweden.
Sweden will soon be GM-free!

Ever since the European Union, after strong lobbying from GM companies, accepted that products from animals that have been given GM-feed did not have to be labeled, we have worked hard to get voluntary agreements with producers not to use GM-feed.

Producer organisations for poultry/chicken,lamb, beef, veal and milk all set rules not permitting GM-feed for their animals. Strong lobbying by the importer of GM-soy tried to make them change their mind, mainly pointing at the level of cost (which they could manipulate!). Consumer opinion was strong enough for the producers to resist and continue to say no to GM-feed, except for a few big pig producers, including the former president of their organisation.

Our strategy was to tell the pig farmers that without GM-free feed, there was no reason for consumers to pay more for Swedish pig meat and we started a boycott campaign 2010-03-02: initially limited to 3 months to start a dialogue. Since this dialogue did not give any immediate results it was prolonged.

Finally the biggest slaughterhouse company SCAN decided to stop accepting GM-fed pigs from farmers and their new rules will take effect on the 1st of May, and after 1st of September no more GM-fed pigs will be accepted. Other slaughterhouses have declared that they will follow the SCAN decision.

Consequently we have communicated to consumers to start to buy meat from Swedish pigs again immediately and continue the boycott of cheaper imported pig meat. We have also invited the big retail chains not to promote imported pig meat.

Here is a translation of the text we have now published on our boycott page:

NEW! The boycott is lifted on Swedish pork. The rules are changed at SCAN from May 1st and from September 1st no pigs raised on GM feed will be accepted at the SCAN slaughterhouses.

The number of pigs given GM feed is already small enough to be ignored, but if you want to be 100% sure, you can wait until September.

In the meantime we will have to check the other slaughterhouses to make sure that they too have changed their policy.

For the time being, we can buy SCAN pork, but not store brands, unless it is clearly stated that the pigs are given only GM-free feed, ICA Selection for example.

Even bigger reason now to avoid all "offers" to buy cheap imported pork, most certainly raised on at least some GM feed.

Bengt Ingerstam
Swedish Consumer Coalition