Row deepens over genetic engineering

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British consumer groups and supermarkets added their voices to a growing European row over the lack of identification of American genetically- modified soya beans, which will soon be incorporated into hundreds of foods, such as bread, margarine and chocolate.

The Consumers' Association called on the Government to take action to force food producers to label foodstuffs which could contain the altered soya beans. The first shipments - mixed irretrievably with normal soya beans - arrived by ship from the US in Germany and Holland last week.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's and Asda said they were working with suppliers to provide alternative sources of unmodified soya beans and provide full information to customers. The frozen food chain, Iceland, said in a letter to Greenpeace that it felt that Monsanto, which developed the "Roundup Ready" bean to be resistant to one of its herbicides, had been "irresponsible" in letting the beans into the marketplace. Charles Arthur