[McLibel] GM contamination in UK McNuggets

From: McSpotlight (info@mcspotlight.org)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2000 - 15:53:53 GMT

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    'GM-free' claims questioned by new research

    A Greenpeace investigation, 'Smuggling GM in through the back door' has
    revealed a trail of GM contamination which leads from Monsanto's US
    laboratories to British consumers of McDonald's chicken McNuggets. The
    investigation also undermines the claims by many supermarkets, producers and
    fast food chains to be 'GM-free'.

    The trail of GM contamination starts when Monsanto's GM soya, grown in the
    US is transported to the UK via US company Cargill, the world's largest
    grain carrier. GM contaminated feed is then fed to chickens by Sun Valley,
    the UK's largest poultry producer, also owned by Cargill. Sun Valley's
    largest customer is McDonald's.

    "A few big players in the food industry are keeping alive a market for GM
    contaminated food despite widespread consumer rejection," said Greenpeace
    food campaigner Jim Thomas. " People who have said 'No' to GM food sending
    ripples across the industry may find themselves unwittingly tucking into an
    egg or portion of chicken McNuggets contaminated by GMOs."

    "What Greenpeace has uncovered is merely one chain of supply. This trail of
    contamination is repeated time and time again with our pork, fish, eggs and
    milk," Thomas added.

    Soya is the largest US export crop. Thirty million hectares of soya was
    planted in 1999, mainly in the states of Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. Of this,
    57% was a GM variety of soya produced by Monsanto. Monsanto sells the GM
    soya via seed companies like Cargill. In the US, GM soya is mixed together
    with conventional soya, either at the harvest or in the grain elevators.
    Cargill's US soya is shipped from New Orleans in ocean going grain carriers
    to European ports such as Rotterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona and Liverpool.

    At Liverpool, Cargill operates the UK's only soya crushing mill at Gladstone
    dock. After the material is processed, the oil is sold for human consumption
    and the remaining GM material is sold to farms and feed mills to provide the
    staple diet for cows, pigs, chickens and fish. In the UK 60% of all soya
    used for animal feed is fed to poultry.

    The UK's largest poultry producer in the UK is Sun Valley, which has plants
    in Herefordshire, North Wales and Wolverhampton. Sun Valley is wholly owned
    by Cargill and through Sun Valley's own branded chicken products, Cargill's
    control of GM food from seed to supermarket shelf is complete.

    ...GM investigation/2

    Sun Valley is well known for its processed and coated chicken products, such
    as Sun Valley's Garlic Butter Chicken Kiev, which it claims, is 'The Nations
    favourite Kiev'. However, Sun Valley's biggest customer is McDonald's, the
    world's largest and best-known food company, for whom Sun Valley produces
    chicken McNuggets and sandwich patties. One third of Sun Valley's Balliol
    plant in Wolverhampton is given over to producing food for McDonald's.

    Despite McDonald's claims that they aim to go 'GM-free', when pressed on the
    issue of GM animal feed, McDonald's is less keen, blaming feed suppliers for
    the lack of non GM-feed. (1)

    "Consumers don't want excuses, they want food free of GM contamination.
    Other food retailers are already taking action. McDonald's has the same
    opportunity," said Thomas.

    The investigation into animal feed follows on from the launch of a major
    campaign by Greenpeace to stop GMOs contaminating the food chain and the
    environment through the 'back door' as animal feed. The 'True Feed campaign'
    began with a national newspaper advertising campaign featuring chickens fed
    on GM animal feed.

    Greenpeace has also demonstrated internationally against US exports of GM
    animal feed. Today (Wednesday) in Hamburg, Greenpeace volunteers positioned
    themselves in the water in front of freighter Unison bringing in corn gluten
    feed from the US. On Tuesday Greenpeace volunteers blocked a railroad from
    Veracruz harbour in Mexico to prevent a train loaded with GE maize from
    leaving the port. During the past week the organisation has also
    demonstrated in the US and France against GM exports.

    "Greenpeace is opposed to the pollution of our food chain and environment by
    GM crops. GM animal feed is another step along the contamination trail. It's
    time to stop the planting and export of these crops and insist that the
    animals that provide our meat and dairy products, are reared on a GM-free
    diet," said Thomas. [Ends]

    Notes to Editors

    Greenpeace briefing 'Smuggling GM in through the back door: A Greenpeace
    Investigation into genetically modified animal feed' is available from the
    Greenpeace Press office and on the Greenpeace web site.

    A short animated film tracing the contamination trail from Monsanto to
    McDonald's can be seen on Greenpeace Digital, Greenpeace's new web site on

    (1) In a letter to Greenpeace 05.11.99, Mike Love, Director of
    Communications for McDonalds wrote: "There are difficulties of segregation
    within the animal feed supply chain industry-wide and therefore we currently
    don't make a specification regarding GM ingredients in animal feed."

    For further information please contact Greenpeace Press office on 0171 865

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