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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Asda Customers Reject Company Policy on GM Animal Feed

Immediate release (16 Jun 2010)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065.

A new opinion survey carried out by GfK/NOP on behalf of GM Freeze and Friends of the Earth [1] shows that Asda’s decisions about sourcing GM poultry feed are not supported by the majority of its customers. [2]

Respondents to the survey were asked where they did their main supermarket shop, so answers from Asda customers could be analysed separately.

Two thirds of Asda customers (62%) want the option to buy products from animals reared and fed using non-GM animals feed, and an overwhelming 92% want labels to show which meat, dairy products and eggs comes from animals where GM ingredients were included in the feed.

Six out of ten Asda customers (64%) want the company to abandon using GM feed altogether, with 75% saying they would pay 2p/kilo extra for meat and 0.5p/ litre for milk to enable this to happen.

Only 14% of Asda customers want to see animals fed using GM ingredients.

This demonstrates rising concern about GM feed, as a 2006 poll asking the same question found 49% wanted the option to buy non-GM fed animal products.

Asked what they knew about the current use of GM free in producing meat, dairy and eggs, Asda customers were very unsure (41% thought most products involved GM feed and 41% did not and the rest offered no opinion).

Recently ASDA joined the Round Table on Sustainable Soya (RTRS), which intends to introduce labelling of soya to indicate that it meets their ‘responsible criteria’. Plans to launch the RTRS standards, which include GM soya, moved ahead at a meeting in Brazil this month despite massive opposition from groups around the world who view the process as green wash exercise that will not help protect the environment or communities in the world’s soya belts. [3] Equally consumers will be left in the dark because of the weakness of the RTRS’s traceability proposals .[4]

Asda recently confirmed that they will stick with the RTRS: “We have no plans to resign from the Round table of responsible Sys (RTRS)…it is worth engaging with a global initiative (supported by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, WWF) moving industry forward on this issue.” [5]

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

It appears that Asda have been pulling the wool over the eyes of their customers for years about their non-GM feed sourcing policy. No wonder their customers are confused.

Our poll shows that Asda’s current policy of joining the RTRS and therefore supporting the inclusion GM soya in the ‘responsible’ criteria is not supported by the majority of their customers. A shrewd company would follow their customers rather than a grouping cobbled together to try and make an unsustainable production system look green. Asda customers won’t welcome this shift into GM crops!

ENDs

Notes

[1] See poll results here.

[2] Email to GM Freeze from Asda’s Head of Sustainability 7 May 2010.

[3] See Open Letter to RTRS here.

[4] See 13 Reasons point number 11 here.

[5] Recent response to a customer’s email regarding Asda’s membership of the RTRS.