Select Committee on European Communities Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 3

ADVICE ON . . . LABELLING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS AND INGREDIENTS—WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

  Over the past few years, farmers in the major growing areas around the world have started to plant genetically modified (GM) commodity crops such as soya and maize for improved weed control and increased yield. In 1997, the first significant volumes of these crops were grown and harvested for processing into food ingredients such as soya and maize flours and oils, soya lecithin and maize syrup. For this reason, and in accordance with new legislation, we have started to label Safeway brand foods which contain ingredients processed from genetically modified soya and maize.

  This leaflet explains:

    The reason for labelling genetically modified foods.

    What the new labelling will look like.

    What kinds of products will be labelled.

    When the new labels will start to appear on Safeway brand products.

    Whether foods carrying GM Labelling should be avoided.

    Where to get more information.

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR LABELLING GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS?

  Safeway is committed to customer choice and clear, informative labelling. In common with other retailers, we have pressed for and continue to encourage the industry to segregate genetically modified and conventional crops. In parallel, we are labelling foods which contain ingredients from genetically modified crops to help our customers make informed purchasing decisions.

WHAT WILL THE NEW LABELLING LOOK LIKE?

  The majority of packaged foods display a list of ingredients used in their manufacture on the pack. Where GM-derived ingredients which contain new DNA or protein are used in Safeway brand foods, they will be identified by an asterisk. A typical example of the new labelling format is shown below:

    Product example: "Safeway 2 Chicken Kievs"

    Ingredients:

    Chicken, breadcrumbs, Butter Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Water, Wheat Flour, Lemon Juice, Salt, Soya Protein Isolate

[1], Tarragon, Skimmed Milk Powder, Egg Albumen, Lemon Oil, Sodium Caseinate, White Pepper, Vegetable Oil, Garlic Extract

WHAT KINDS OF PRODUCTS WILL BE LABELLED?

  Soya-based ingredients such as soya protein isolate are used in a variety of products from the Chicken Kiev example shown here, to sausage rolls. Such products will be labelled as outlined in this leaflet where the soya-based ingredient they contain is derived from genetically modified soya beans.

WHEN WILL THE NEW LABELS START TO APPEAR ON SAFEWAY BRAND PRODUCTS?

  In January 1998 Safeway started to label products in accordance with voluntary guidelines and in advance of new legislation. Now that the legislation has been agreed, Safeway is working to ensure all appropriate products are labelled as soon as possible.

SHOULD I AVOID FOODS THAT ARE LABELLED AS CONTAINING GM INGREDIENTS?

  By law all food offered for sale must be safe to eat. Genetically modified soya and maize have been approved by the appropriate regulatory authorities in both the UK and Europe. On this basis there is no reason for customers to avoid eating them or ingredients processed from them.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

  We recognise that some customers may wish further information on genetic modification or ingredients processed from genetically modified crops. Further information on Safeway brand products can be obtained from Safeway Customer Services at the address below. Information on other brands can be obtained either directly from the manufacturer, or from the Food and Drink Federation. More general information on genetically modified foods can be obtained from the Institute of Grocery Distribution or MAFF at the addresses below.

Safeway Customer Services

Safeway Stores plc

Beddow Way

Aylesford

Kent ME20 7AT

Tel: 01622 712987

Communications Division

Food and Drink Federation

6 Catherine Street

London WC2B 5JJ

Institute of Grocery Distribution

Letchmore Heath

Watford WD2 8DQ

MAFF Helpline

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Whitehall Place

London SW1A 2HH

Tel: 0645 335577






1   Genetically modified. Back


 
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