14 May 2003
GM products 'slip into foods'
"EU and British laws allow manufacturers to have GM contamination of up to one per cent of contents without declaring the fact on the label. It is only those companies which claim their foods are GM-free - when they are not - that may be guilty of breaking labelling laws."
This isn't true even with the high 1% threshold. Who's checking on whether manufacturers are exceeding that threshold and so should be labelling for the presence of GMOs? They only seem to be going after those who are labelling foods as GM free, ie not after those who should be labelling the GM content in their foods but may be failing to do so.
GM products 'slip into foods'
by SEAN POULTER, Daily Mail
Millions of Britons are eating genetically modified ingredients every day without realising it. According to research, many products and stores which claim to be GM-free are not. After a consumer backlash, British manufacturers and supermarkets have gone to great lengths to try to ensure raw materials are GM-free. But critics seized on the new findings as evidence of how difficult it is to hold back the GM tide once crops are allowed into the fields.
Scientists found that a Cow & Gate's "GM-free" baby food - a dried vegetable casserole - contained low levels of genetically modified soya. Three products sold under the popular Protoveg label as a meat substitute contained GM ingredients despite claims to be "made from non-GM soya", researchers found. The products, made by British firm Haldane Foods, are widely available at supermarkets and health food stores. Similar products and a breakfast soya bran from health food chain Holland & Barrett also contained trace levels of GM ingredients. A box of Farley's gluten-free reduced sugar rusks contained trace levels of the same material. Premier Original Biscuit Cakes from Itona Products of Wigan were found to include GM traces despite claiming to be free of these ingredients.
But the use of impure seed overseas, particularly in the United States and Canada, cross-pollination in the fields and contamination of GM-free ingredients during shipping all create problems. The GM contamination was discovered by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. EU and British laws allow manufacturers to have GM contamination of up to one per cent of contents without declaring the fact on the label. It is only those companies which claim their foods are GM-free - when they are not - that may be guilty of breaking labelling laws. But there is no evidence any firms identified were trying to mislead consumers. Friends of the Earth's Pete Riley said: "The companies involved need to do much more to tighten the quality control.
"Most rely on wholesalers who certify that their raw materials are GM-free. But it seems they should be carrying out their own checks."
All the companies insisted the presence of GM material was accidental and outside their control. They stressed the levels were low. Cow & Gate's parent, Nutricia, said: "We do not use any GM ingredients and we are very careful about that. "Where we use soya for protein content, we make sure it is from crops that are segregated and we DNA test it. This was not deliberate."
Heinz, parent company of Farley's, says it operates a GM-free policy with ingredients and works hard to ensure none gets through. Holland & Barrett said it regretted the discovery of the GM material and it had taken "all practical steps" to avoid such a problem. Haldane Foods said it went to great lengths to procure non-GM ingredients. Itona Products could not be contacted.
The GM positive foods
Cow & Gate Dried Vegetable Casserole - GM soya
Farley's Gluten-free Reduced Sugar rusks - GM soya
Itona/Granny Ann Premier Original Biscuit Cakes - GM soya
Protoveg Menu Sosmix with country herbs - GM soya
Protoveg Menu Sosmix - GM soya
Protoveg Menu Burgamix - GM soya
Holland & Barrett Unflavoured Soya Mince Protein - GM soya
Holland & Barrett Savoury Flavoured Soya Chunks - Unidentified traces
Holland & Barrett Maize Meal - GM Maize
Holland & Barrett Soya Bran - GM soya