UK Supermarkets maintain strict GM free policy for 2003

6 January 2003 has completed its annual survey of UK supermarkets for their position on genetically modified (GM) food and ingredients for 2003.

The results show that opposition to GM foods is as strong as it was in 1999, when supermarkets removed GM foods and ingredients from their shelves. Just as in 1999, no UK supermarket includes GM food or ingredients in their own-brand products. Increasingly, supermarkets are also specifying GM-free feed for animals producing their meat, milk and eggs.

Supermarkets maintain this position because of the continued rejection by consumers of GM foods. Consumers believe that GM foods are unsafe, untested and may cause environmental damage.

When asked specifically about GM cottonseed oil, which has recently been approved by the UK ACNFP [1, 2], supermarkets stated that they will not be allowing this ingredient in their products.

For more information about the issues with GM crops and GM food, see

The views of each of the supermarkets can be seen in the summary below:


"No Co-op Brand products will be made using any genetically modified ingredient.",gm


"As pioneers in the food retail industry Iceland were the world's first to ban GM ingredients in our own label range in May 1998."

Marks and Spencer

"All Marks and Spencer food products are made without Genetically Modified ingredients or derivatives, and an increasing range of the animals we use in food production are fed on non-GM diets."


"We listen carefully to our customers' comments and concerns and we have removed GM soya and maize ingredients from our own brand products. This was achieved in 1999."


"In response to overwhelming customer concern we have eliminated GM ingredients from all our own brand food, pet food and dietary supplements."


"Tesco has removed GM ingredients from all own brand products and had increased non-GM options by launching an extensive Organic range."


"No Waitrose own label product produced since the end of March 1999 contains GM ingredients as defined by law..."

"...With effect from the end of September 1999, all the soya and maize used in the production of the oils and additives for Waitrose products came from "traditional" crops."

Notes for Editors

1. Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

2. GM cottonseed oil was approved by the EU, via the UK ACNFP, in December 2002, without testing of safety for humans, animals and the environment.

3. A web version of this article, with hyperlinks, can be found here:


Marcus Williamson
Editor, Genetically Modified Food-News