Select Committee on European Communities Second Report - Written Evidence


Text of in-store leaflet on genetically modified soya

  Genetically modified soya is now being used in greater quantities in UK foods. As a result, Sainbury's is joining all other UK food retailers and food manufacturers in labelling foods that contain genetically modified soya—even though we are not required by law to do so.

  It will state clearly on the packaging if any of our own label products contain ingredients derived from genetically modified soya. This information will be near the ingredients' list and state "Produced from genetically modified soya beans". This will give you the information you need to be able to choose whether or not to buy the product. If this information does not appear on the pack, you can be sure the soya used in the product is non-genetically modified.

  Sainsbury's has always said that foods that are genetically modified, or contain genetically modified ingredients, should be clearly labelled to give customers choice.

  We have always labelled our genetically modified tomato puree, which we have been selling successfully since January 1996. We were unable to label products that contained genetically modified soya at first. This was because the growers and food manufacturers were not separating genetically modified soya from conventional versions.

  Sainsbury's has now made sure that it can trace the source of all soya ingredients used in our own label products. This information has enabled us to label with confidence.

  You will, however, find very few own label products that contain genetically modified soya in Sainsbury's. We estimate that genetically modified soya is used in as little as 30 products. Sainsbury's has fewer products containing genetically modified soya than many other food retailers because we have asked our own label suppliers to source non genetically modified soya for as many of our leading lines such as bakery goods, biscuits, cakes and confectionery. No Sainsbury's baby food contains genetically modified Soya.

  We made this request so you could have the widest possible choice of food should you wish to avoid genetically modified Soya.

  We will continue to keep you informed about developments in genetically modified foods. Sainsbury's believes that each genetically modified whole food or commodity crop should be assessed on its merits.

  Soya beans have been used to produce food for many years. They are used in bread and biscuits; sweets; some margarine; baby food and special diet foods. Ingredients made from soya beans—soya flour, soya meal, soya protein and soya lecithin—are valuable and versatile sources of protein and fat.

  By law, all food must be safe to eat. The genetically modified Soya bean was assessed by an independent team of UK scientists and specialists, designated by the Government who agreed that the genetically modified Soya bean is as safe to eat as the conventional bean. In addition, regulatory authorities in Europe, Canada and the US also approved the genetically modified bean for use.

  Genetically modified Soya plants are produced to be tolerant to an all-purpose weed killer. The weed killer can be sprayed to control all weeds without affecting the Soya plant crop and it also breaks down quickly in the soil.

Association welcomes the opportunity to submit written evidence to the enquiry being conducted by Sub-Committee D into genetic modification on agriculture, especially in relation to its regulation by theAs an Industry we are not opposed to genetic modification, properly regulated. However, we do accept the right of consumers to choose whether or not they wish to purchase products made form GM raw materials. Accordingly, we accept the consumers' call for products containing GM materials to be labelled to that effect. Such labelling must relate only to what is in the finished product. We see no requirement for products which do not contain any GM materials to be labelled and we would oppose labelling for products which, although made from GM raw materials, have no such materials or residues thereof in the finished product.

  4. There is scientific evidence which indicates that neither protein nor DNA resulting from GM cereals used in the distillation process of Scotch Whisky "carry over" into the new make spirit.

  5. However, we are less sure of the position regarding caramel made from GM raw materials. As caramel may be used to standardise the colour of Scotch Whisky released to the market for human consumption, our members are concerned that unless there is segregation between GM and non-GM raw materials, it will not be possible for them to be able to guarantee that their Scotch Whisky is entirely free of GM material. Accordingly, we encourage the Sub-Committee to conclude that there must be segregation between GM and non-GM raw materials so that end users may be able to give such a guarantee.

  6. Segregation will also enable end users to make a choice between using GM raw materials or not.

  7. We shall await the outcome of the Sub-Committee's enquiry with much interest.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999