Fears over Morrisons’ decision to allow GM feed

Morrisons’ announcement that its suppliers would now be allowed to feed poultry with genetically modified (GM) soya has raised concerns that producers might lose market to non-GM providers.

Anti-GM organisation GM Freeze said that despite the apparent relief the move might bring to the industry, it would also lead to a drop in prices and a loss of market as consumers continue to be against GM products.

GM Freeze spokesman Pete Riley said: “Morrisons is turning its back on its customers and suppliers. Other companies across the EU keep GM out of their poultry feed, because they know this is what people want. We fear that opening the door to GM poultry feed in this way merely offers temporary respite for poultry farmers, who are very vulnerable to big hikes in commodity crop prices. The presence of GM feed on the market for years has not stemmed price rises in feed, so why does Morrisons think it will keep them down now?

“Morrisons knows full well how much it costs to produce poultry meat, and producers should be very vigilant to ensure the company does not exploit a temporary drop in farmers’ costs, due to non-GM feed to lower the price they pay producers for each bird.

“By taking the risky option of sourcing GM feed, instead of absorbing the pennies needed to use non-GM, Morrisons also gambles with a consumer backlash. Consumers don’t want to eat GM or support the GM industry, and people are becoming more aware of the damaging nature of GM soya production in places like Argentina.

According to a 2011 survey by Which?, 70% of consumers give a lot of importance to non-GM feed in livestock. GM Freeze added that a majority of shoppers would be willing to pay extra to get clearly labelled non-GM-fed meat.

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