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13 April 2013 | Adam Leach
Tesco has announced it will no longer guarantee its chicken and egg products have come from chickens fed on non-genetically modified (GM) feed.
The supermarket has taken the decision to remove the pledge as it said it could no longer be sure GM feed would not enter its supply chain. It explained its suppliers were finding it increasingly difficult to be able to provide assurances because soya producers are increasingly using GM soya, and the supply of the alternative is limited. Just 20 per cent of the global supply of soya is not genetically modified.
Tim Smith, group technical director at Tesco, said in a statement: “We want to be clear with customers about food and that’s why we’re removing the GM-free guarantee for poultry and eggs. We are not the first UK supermarket to reach the conclusion that a non-GM policy on poultry feed is unsustainable and we won’t be the last.”
Both Asda and Morrisons permit non-GM feed for poultry products. While the move means Tesco branded poultry products may have come from chickens that have been fed genetically modified feed, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has stated they pose no health risk. The FSA explained the modification only affects the crops, not the animals that eat the feed.
In January, Tesco dropped Silvercrest as a supplier after tests by the Food Standards Agency Ireland found equine DNA in a range of beef burgers. Following the scandal that erupted from the FSAI findings, which involved a number of other producers, Tesco has carried out a number of tests across its food categories, which has led to the removal of the guarantee on chicken products.