ADVICE ON . . . GENETIC MODIFICATION OF SOYA
AND OTHER COMMODITY CROPSWHAT IT MEANS TO YOU
Quite simply, genetic modification allows the
improvement of crops by making precise changes with benefits for
the consumer, farmer and the environment, achieving what previously
took many years of selective breeding in a far shorter period
This leaflet tells you:
About commodity crops and how they
The benefits of genetic modification
of these crops.
The range of crops currently being
How their safety is ensured.
When they may be used in Safeway
How they will be identified.
Where to get more information.
What are commodity crops and how are they used?
A commodity crop is one that is grown on a large
scale and shipped in bulk, often internationally, before being
processed for a specific use. Each year many millions of acres
of commodity crops such as soya, maize and oilseed rape are harvested,
traded internationally and processed into ingredients such as
syrups, flours, oils and emulsifiers for use in a wide range of
foods. In the case of soya, over 60 per cent of foods contain
soya-based ingredients of one type or another.
What are the benefits of genetically modified
Genetic modification of crops such as soya can
have benefits for both the farmer and the environment. Where previously
the control of competing weeds was an ongoing problem for farmers,
the newly developed varieties of genetically modified soya can
be treated with a single all-purpose weed killer. This replaces
the range of different chemicals previously used, killing only
the weeds before breaking down quickly into harmless components.
What other genetically modified crops are currently
In addition to soya, other genetically modified
crops including maize, oilseed rape and sugar beet are being developed.
These have benefits such as improved resistance to pests, disease
and tolerance to all-purpose weedkillers for improved weed control.
Many farmers may decide to grow these new varieties where they
offer significant benefits over conventional crops they have previously
Are they safe to eat?
Yes. Before these new crops can be grown, harvested
and processed for food, they must be reviewed by the relevant
authorities in the UK, Europe or USA, and pass a rigorous assessment
which in the UK includes scrutiny by independent experts.
When will Safeway products contain ingredients
from these new crops?
From late 1996 some processed foods that we
sell may include a small proportion of ingredients derived from
the 1996 harvest of genetically modified crops.
Will they be labelled?
As the processed ingredients from crops currently
being grown are no different in composition, nutrition and processing
characteristics to those from the conventional crop, UK regulations
state that they do not need to be specially labelled. However,
Safeway recognises that some customers may still be concerned
about eating foods containing ingredients from genetically modified
crops. Information on the composition of Safeway brand products,
including a list of products free from soya, can be obtained from
Safeway Customer Services at the address below.
Where can I obtain further information?
Free leaflets which provide further information
on genetically modified foods are available from the following
Safeway Customer Services
Safeway Stores plc
Kent ME20 7AT
Tel: 01622 712 000
The Soya Bean Information Centre
London WC1B 4HJ
Tel: 0345 023 288
Food & Drink Federation
6 Catherine Street
London WC2B 5JJ
Tel: 0171 836 2460