GM creep

December 2016
Photo Creative Commons
Products with GM labels are creeping quietly onto our supermarket shelves.

None of them is likely to appeal to your average real-food locavore. However, it's good to be GM-aware. GM offerings are turning up, not only in budget stores, but in the top-end supermarkets Waitrose, Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.

And, keep on your toes, because a 'suspect' which carries no GM label one day, may appear in novel form when the next batch arrives.

What to look out for?

Well done Waitrose!

December 2016
Photo: Creative Commons
Three years ago, when major supermarkets, such as Tesco, Mark & Spencer, Sainsbury's and the Co-op, collectively moved to allowing GM-fed animal produce on their shelves, whether their customers wanted it or not, Waitrose went out on a limb.

With a good measure of "innovative and determined thinking" (Waitrose Managing Director), and an eye firmly on the need for supply-chain security, the need for climate-friendly land-use and shipping distances, and not least the need to supply the food quality its customers want, Waitrose has sourced European non-GM feed for its livestock suppliers.

Waitrose pigs are now dining on the first shipment of soya grown in the Danube Region and sourced with the help of Donau Soja (see below).

In the Waitrose pipeline are dairy, beef and lamb from animals fed clovers and other forage proteins instead of soya, while trials on replacing soya with faba beans to feed pigs, chickens and ducks are underway.


Waitrose just blew a great big hole in the smokescreeen carefully positioned by the UK government to keep consumers in the dark and force GM technology into our food chain [1].

Interestingly, the perceived risk to our feed supply chain actually comes from the increasing demands from developing countries for South American soya. The modern mind-set equates 'development' with soya, and soya with GM. Waitrose and Donau Soja have just proved that real, sustainable, development happens at home.

Waitrose admits it isn't going completely GM-free, but it's taken a huge step in the right direction. Send it a quick word of appreciation and encouragement any way you want:

e-mail -,

'phone - 0800 188 884

Twitter - @waitrose

Facebook - /waitrose

or, write straight to the Managing Director at Waitrose Central Offices, Doncaster Road, Southern Industrial Area, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 8YA


[1] FEED ME THE TRUTH - November 2016

Donau Soja (The Danube Soya Growers Association)

This Association represents GM-free, origin-controlled, quality soya from the Danube Region of Europe. It aims to give consumers certainty, and to open the door to pioneering European businesses providing GM-free animal feed.

Its main objectives are:

  • to promote cultivation and processing of GM-free soya
  • to establish reliable GM-free soya supply and value-added chains
  • to direct and fund breeding, research and monitoring for GM-free soya
Additional objectives include:

  • traceability
  • use of currently available and fallow land
  • reduction of the soya carbon footprint
  • systematically inform the public
  • evaluate and measure the programme's success


  • Well done Waitrose, GM Freeze 3.11.16
  • UK: Waitrose supermarket to switch to non-GM soy for pork products, GM Freeze 1.11.16
  • The biggest blow against GM crops this century, Soil Association 1.11.16
  • Waitrose to responsibly source European soya in UK retailer first, Waitrose Press Centre, 1.11.16
  • Sean Poulter, Waitrose ends use of GM animal feed on its farms: Critics hail decision as 'beginning of end' for use of the crops in the UK, Daily Mail, 2.11.16
  • Alex Black, Waitrose moves away from South American soya, Farmers Guardian Insight, 2.11.16

GM mistakes

November 2016
Photo Creative Commons
Seemingly intent on promoting the future of GM crops in Europe, the European Commission (EC) is trying to extend the cultivation of GM maize.

In November, the Commission will vote on proposals to authorise three GM crops: DuPont-Pioneer's Bt insecticidal maize 1507 for the second time (it was dropped in 2014 due to massive opposition), Sygenta's Bt insecticidal maize Bt11, and Monsanto's Bt insecticidal maize MON810 which is already grown in five European countries and now requires re-authorisation.

Keep it real

November 2016
Photo: Creative Commons
'Factory farming' just got a whole new meaning. It used to mean thousands of cows crammed in a muddy pen, or pigs living their lives out stuffed in crates, or tiers of chickens in boxes, all fed GM feed. Now it means farming in a factory. Farming, that is of microbes genetically transformed to produce food-like substances.

Stacked GM allergies

November 2016
Photo Creative Commons
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has many fine words to say about the need for transparency in the science relating to GM safety issues, but it has some difficulty, it seems, in matching the words with action [1].

A recent EFSA Opinion on a multiple-stacked-trait GM for food and feed use was published on 26th August 2016, during the quiet European summer holiday period.

GM enzymes

November 2016
Brewery: Photo Creative Commons
Most of us have direct or indirect experience of allergy. For example: a skin or asthmatic reaction from clothes or bedding washed in certain detergents (no matter how well they've been rinsed); a reaction to perfumes or scented toiletries; digestive upsets from mass-produced breads and baked goods. These three very distinct classes of product have one thing in common: all of them are manufactured with novel industrial enzymes produced by GM microbes.

Ahh transparency

November 2016

Photo Creative Commons
'Transparency' - transmitting rays of light without diffusion ...(Oxford English Dictionary)

'Transparency', Monsanto-style, is interesting.