Farmers should be incredibly wary of the switch to GM feed in poultry recently announced by UK retail giant Morrisons. The chain's revelation has been greeted with worry and a potential backlash from customers.
A 2011 Which? survey found that 70% of those questioned think that non-GM animal feed is important, and a poll in 2010 showed that 89% if shoppers want labels on food from animals which have been fed on GM food.
As reported by Farming UK, Pete Riley said that “Morrisons is turning its back on its customers and suppliers. Other companies across the EU keep GM out of their poultry feed because they know this is what people want. We fear that opening the door to GM poultry feed in this way merely offers temporary respite for poultry farmers, who are very vulnerable to big hikes in commodity crop prices. The presence of GM feed on the market for years has not stemmed price rises in feed, so why does Morrisons think it will keep them down now?
“By taking the risky option of sourcing GM feed instead of absorbing the pennies needed to use non-GM, Morrison’s also gambles with a consumer backlash. Consumers don’t want to eat GM or support the GM industry, and people are becoming more aware of the damaging nature of GM soya production in places like Argentina.
“Morrisons knows full well how much it costs to produce poultry meat, and producers should be very vigilant to ensure the company does not exploit a temporary drop in farmers’ costs due to non-GM feed to lower the price they pay producers for each bird.
“In the meantime consumers who do not wish to support GM or unsustainable soya production with their weekly shop should go elsewhere.”