GM Free Me!

United Kingdom

In a plenary session of the European Parliament on 13 January, an important vote took place which modifies Directive 18 of 2001 and organically defines the procedure through which GMOs can be authorized in Europe.

At the same time, however, the law allows the various member states to limit or abolish genetically modified cultivations from their territories. The proposed modification of Directive 2001/18 of the European Parliament, and of that of the Council of March 12, 2001, was already approved during the third reunion of the Trilogue last December 10.

Upon close reading, Slow Food’s main impression is that the text submitted for final approval during the plenary session in part disregards the requests made by many who had hoped that the European Parliament and Council would perfect the proposal. Specifically, Slow Food has some legitimate doubts about the effective good nature of the proposal and about the fact that the best interests of farmers and citizens are really the central element of the adopted approach.
You can read in detail that which worries us about the text that has recently been approved.
Here we will limit ourselves to discuss a question that we hold particularly at heart: obligatory labeling of food products that contain GMOs, the only instrument that citizens have when choosing what they buy. Thus we hope that the European Parliament and Commission plan to provide further measures on this topic.
Regarding the labeling question, Slow Food UK has recently completed an interesting investigation aimed at dealing with a concern shared by consumers: meat from animals that are raised with genetically modified feed is not labeled as such, but more and more citizens claim the right to know what is on their plate. Slow Food UK sent an email to three of the main British supermarkets: Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s.
The responses they received confirmed their fears. Morrisons, for example, responded that they are unable to guarantee that the meat and dairy products for sale in their stores come from animals that have been raised with GMO-free foods, especially since the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has said that these foods are safe for animals. Similarly, Sainsbury defended itself saying that the genetically modified ingredients pose no danger to human health (and therefore they see no reason to label foods produced with the use of GMOs). Tesco, for its part, responded that the use of GMO-free chicken feed is not sustainable, reinterpreting the concept of sustainability for their own purposes.
So be it. Even it was impossible to avoid GMO-free animal feed, by not labeling their products, convinced that they are perfectly safe and innocuous, these supermarkets and many others are denying a right that we consumers want and should have: the right to know what we have on our plates.

Slow Food UK Slow Food UK is fighting a battle to affirm this right and asks everyone who would like to support it to sign the on-line petition. (

Read Slow Food’s position on the text that was approved in the Plenary session of 13 January

Read the responses of Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to Slow Food UK.

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