2003, Just-foot.com: Never mind the hesitation
of EU political leaders to accept GMO foods, a giant
food grower and retailer has made a market-driven decision
to just say no.
At 80,000 acres, the Co-operative Group is Britain's
biggest farmer. It announced recently it will reject
any government proposals that allow the commercial planting
of genetically modified crops in the UK.
The consumer-owned business, which sells £5bn
(US$8.4 billion) worth of food annually through its
supermarkets and convenience stores and farms 85,000
acres of land, has also imposed its own GM ban across
The Co-op said it will refuse to grow GM crops on its
own land, sell GM food under its own brand and invest
its Co-op Bank customers' money in GM technology.
The move follows an NOP World survey of Co-op customers
and members which found that 55% of people were against
GM with 38% yet to be convinced of its benefits. The
survey found that 79% of those surveyed would not knowingly
buy food containing GM ingredients, while 62% would
not eat GM food even if it was proved safe to eat.
"We have listened to the experts on both sides
of the debate. We have consulted our customers and members
and evaluated available evidence. But, on the strength
of current scientific knowledge, and the overwhelming
opposition of our members, the Co-op is saying no to
the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK,"
said Martin Beaumont, chief executive of the Co-operative