Skip to content
for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Morrisons new offer: GM-fed eggs for Easter

Immediate release (4 Apr 2012)

Calls to: Pete Riley 07903 341065

GM Freeze today warned shoppers that in the run-up to Easter Morrisons’ change of policy abandoning the requirement for poultry farmers to use only non-GM feed also applies to egg producers.

An email from Morrisons Head of Policy David Scott to a member of the public on 3 April confirmed:

We are no longer specifying that poultry farmers use non-GM soya. This extends to laying hens and turkey (we do not have an own brand duck range). [1]

The company announced last month it is dropping the requirement on poultry producers to use non-GM soya in feed, which has generated strong protest on the company’s FaceBook page. [2]

The company insists the move is necessary to alleviate pressure on suppliers and keep costs down for shoppers. Soya meal makes up about one third of the ingredients in feed for laying hens. Supplies of certified non-GM soya are readily available, [3] and at current prices using only non-GM feed amounts to a mere £14/tonne of feed, or around 3p/dozen eggs. Morrisons’ pre-tax profits were £869 million in 2011. [4]

Other supermarkets are able to maintain their non-GM policy for feed, including in egg production. Marks & Spencer leads the way in providing meat and eggs from animals reared on a non-GM diet, and unusually this includes M&S milk. Other retailers also ensure egg production is from non-GM fed animals, including The Coop, Tesco and Waitrose, which all maintain non-GM feed requirements for eggs. [5]

Commenting GM Freeze Campaigns Director Pete Riley said:

Most of the publicity around the Morrisons change of policy to supporting GM feed focussed on poultry meat, but it is now clear it applies to egg suppliers as well.

In the run-up to Easter we think it is important for consumers to know that Morrisons’ eggs now come from suppliers using GM feed. If shoppers do not want to support the GM industry in their weekly shop there are plenty of other supermarkets to visit. Judging from the strong and frequent comments on the Morrisons’ FaceBook page rejecting the move to GM-fed, many of them are doing just that.

If Morrisons is genuinely worried about the costs for suppliers and customers it could absorb the small extra cost of buying non-GM feed themselves and work with the UK industry to ensure that future supplies from sustainably managed farms are guaranteed.

Notes

[1] Copies available from GM Freeze upon request.

[2] See www.facebook.com/MorrisonsWeLoveFood

[3] See Straights Direct commodity prices.

[4] See Morrisons’ Annual Accounts and Financial Statement 2011 (pdf)

[5] See GM Freeze “Where to buy non-GM fed