Boots the Chemists, the UK pharmacist and retailer, has withdrawn from sale the last of its food products which contained Genetically Modified (GM) soya.
The product, "Shapers Bacon Bites", a snack product, was part of the Boots "Lunchtime" range. This product is currently not available for purchase.
Boots lags far behind other UK retailers in acting on the issue of contamination by GM ingredients. Following press stories in February 1999, the majority of UK retailers were already starting to remove GM ingredients from their products, in response to consumer demand.
Action to remove GM contamination was already completed for most of these retailers before the end of 1999.
A Boots communication from January 2000 states:
"We do recognise that many of our customers are concerned about the use of GM ingredients, especially in food products. It is for this reason that we have undertaken to remove GM ingredients and derivatives from Boots Brand foods so far as it is practicable to do so."
However, it has taken more than two years since issuing that statement for Boots to eliminate the GM contamination.
Marcus Williamson of gmfoodnews.com comments:
"Boots has finally realised that its consumers do not want GM ingredients, or derivatives, in their food. Here is a company which ostensibly deals with health products, yet which continued to include GM ingredients in its food products for several years. This was done despite the fact that the safety of GM soya and GM maize remains scientifically untested and unproven."
A MORI poll, carried out in April 2002 for Greenpeace, confirms that the majority of the UK public continues to be opposed to the use of GM ingredients in food.
Boots says in a recent communication that:
"We have now sourced a totally GM-free supplier for this product. In the meantime, the current product has been removed from sale pending the launch of the new recipe."
Editor, "Genetically Modified Food - UK and World News"
8 May 2002