16 April 2013

Letter to UK Supermarkets on Use of non-GM Feed

As you may have read, by an amazing coincidence, most of the UK's leading supermarkets have simultaneously announced that they will no longer use non-GM feed (I'm sure there was no conferring whatsoever...).  The stated reason is that, much as they'd like to, they just can't find non-GM feed anymore.  Ain't that a pity?

Oddly, though, ABRANGE, the Brazilian Association for Producers of Non-GMO Soy, has just released a statement saying there's no shortage, just a queue of ships waiting to load goods at Brazilian docks.

So, I thought I'd send an email to the supermarkets concerned, asking for their comments on the good news that they don't need to adopt GM feed.  There's a list of addresses if you feel like doing the same. Here's what I've sent:

Last week you announced that you will no longer require that the farm animals in your supply chains are fed a non-GM diet. You said the reason for this was simply that non-GM feed is no longer available. And yet this week, ABRANGE, the Brazilian Association for Producers of Non-GMO Soy, released a statement (available at http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/52-2013/14771-brazilian-non-gm-soy-producers-baffled-by-uk-retailers-decision) which included the following: 
"The current situation, which United Kingdom retailers have been lead to believe is do to reduced quantities and availability of Non-GMO soy actually has nothing to do with the soy being GMO or Non-GMO; it is the result of a slow down in Brazilian exports, which is due to increased pressure on Brazilian export facilities caused by increased demand for all types of exports from Brazil. There is a shortage of berths for mooring ships in virtually every Brazilian port. In some cases, ships must queue for 30-40 days just to dock and load. This is not due to lack of Non-GMO product in the harbour warehouses nor due to the logistics required to deliver product to the port, but to lack of available berths for mooring ships caused by spiralling export demand. 
This situation is temporary, as exporters are actively seeking solutions to circumvent the export slow down. 
Although one large supplier of non-GMO soy has withdrawn from the market, others continue to supply, and assure that they are still quite capable of consistently delivering material to UK customers." 
This suggests that you have been seriously misled by your suppliers, and that non-GM feed is indeed available. I would therefore be interested to hear your comment on this situation.

I would also hope that you will now re-consider your decision in the light of the fact the majority of UK shoppers do not wish to buy products made with GM feed, and that the problem you identified – the lack of non-GM feed - is in fact not an issue.

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Dann said...

I'm sorely disappointed in the integrity of those UK Supermarkets. I'm sure it's not much better elsewhere, but that makes a point to stay vigilant.

Thanks for brining this to my attention.

Glyn Moody said...

Yes, part of the problem is that people aren't really aware of what's going on here.