GM maize is found in tortilla snacks

Four leading supermarkets launched investigations today after tests commissioned by Friends of the Earth detected banned genetically modified maize in the stores' own-brand tortilla chips.

Four leading supermarkets launched investigations today after tests commissioned by Friends of the Earth detected banned genetically modified maize in the stores' own-brand tortilla chips.

The pressure group took a total of 20 foods from British supermarket shelves and sent them to a laboratory in Germany to be analysed for types of GM maize which cannot legally be sold in Europe.

Friends of the Earth said its tests found GA21 'Roundup Ready' maize, developed by the biotechnology firm Monsanto, in three products including Safeway's and Asda's own-brand tortilla chips. Traces of another GM maize, DBT418, were found in own-brand tortilla chips sold by Sainsbury's and Tesco. GM traces were also found in two types of Phileas Fogg chips.

Both maizes, which have been genetically modified to boost their resistance to herbicides, are grown and sold in the United States but are not approved in the UK. Earlier this year the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes decided Monsanto had not provided sufficient information on whether GA21 could lead to allergic reactions.

The four supermarkets, who all say their own-brand products are GM-free, said they would investigate the findings but none removed their tortilla chips from sale immediately.

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