Animal feed to be given GM labelling

A GM-labelling system is to be introduced for animal feeds sold in Britain to uphold consumers' right to choose, Nick Brown, the Minister of Agriculture, said yesterday.

A GM-labelling system is to be introduced for animal feeds sold in Britain to uphold consumers' right to choose, Nick Brown, the Minister of Agriculture, said yesterday.

Speaking in the Butchers' Hall at Smithfield, London, he said: "Animal feeds should be labelled as to whether or not they contain GM ingredients as it is a consumer right to have traceability through the food chain. I see a lot of potential benefit in GM technology but we have to win the consumer over and that will require openness and transparency."

He said he favoured three levels of label on feeds: a "strong" label such as "GM-free", which would identify feed that had passed a "very tough" regulatory test; a weaker label such as "non-GM", which would allow for a level of accidental contamination; and a GM-positive label if such ingredients were present.

"This is an important step," said Harry Hadaway, the Soil Association's campaigner on GM issues. "It is the first move towards giving consumers a proper choice in whether or not they are supporting the GM food industry when they eat animal products. It will also boost market demands for segregation of GM and non-GM ingredients in the food chain.

"Such a scheme would represent a significant advance for consumers and another major setback for the GM industry."

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