News last update:6 Aug 2012

UK Poll: Two thirds want GM to be kept off their plate

Two thirds of people in the UK want GM crops to be kept out of the food chain, a new survey reveals. The poll was carried out by GfK NOP for Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze.

Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze are urging the Government and supermarkets to listen to public opinion and take action to protect our food and farming from GM.
The GfK NOP survey for Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze also revealed that:
  • less than 40% were aware that GM is currently creeping onto their plates via imported GM animal feed being fed to animals in British farms;
  • while there is currently no requirement for retailers to identify animal products containing GM to consumers, 89% of those surveyed wanted these products to be clearly labelled;
  • 72% would pay extra (2p/kg or 2.4 eurocents/kg) for non-GM food.
Asda abandones GM-free
The survey comes as Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze have learnt that US- owned food retailer Asda has abandoned its commitment to GM-free eggs and poultry.
The campaigning groups are calling on Asda and other supermarkets to respond to public opinion by pledging to keep GM out of the nation's meat and dairy.
Friends of the Earth's food campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said: "Despite a huge PR push by the former government, consumers are more sceptical than ever about genetic modification, and want to be able to choose food that's guaranteed to be GM free.
"By abandoning its commitment to GM-free animal feed for chickens and sneaking GM onto its customers' plates, Asda is going against shoppers' wishes and funding animal feed plantations that are wiping out South American rainforests.
"People should tell supermarkets and their MPs to protect our food and farming from GM and support planet-friendly farming instead."
Clear message
Pete Riley GM Freeze said: "These results send a very clear message to government and retailers that any weakening of policies on the import and use of GM feed will not be welcomed by the public.
"They are demanding that there should be a clear non-GM choice and are willing to pay more for it.
"Despite the rhetoric from industry and government about the possible benefits of GM crops the British public appears to remain very sceptical.
"Proposals from the Food Standards Agency to spend hundreds of thousands pounds of taxpayers' money on a GM public dialogue in a crude attempt to shift public opinion on GM should now be scrapped".
Note from the AllAboutFeed editor:
This survey also clearly shows that consumers are misinformed when genetic modification is subject of discussion.
Biassed opinions from action groups make the headlines in the news and the benefits of GM-crops (less pesticide use, less carbon dioxide production, increased yields) are left in the dark.
The continuous rethoric of a relative small group of opponents seems to dominate the media, where negative information scores better than science based outcomes.
It is known for a long time that ecological production requires more land, has a higher disease risk and has a higher carbon footprint.
Furthermore, animals fed GM feed do not pass this on in their meat, milk and eggs.

Dick Ziggers

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