New scares over GM food

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Agriculture

Concerns over genetically modified (GM) food have erupted once more after government advisers warned of the dangers of GM "super animals".A new...

Concerns over genetically modified (GM) food have erupted once more after government advisers warned of the dangers of GM "super animals".

A new report on GM food from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission has warned that, although GM animals are some years away from being used as food, action needs to be taken now.

The report called for urgent measures to reassure the public about GM animals and prevent confusion like that surrounding GM crops three years ago.

The super salmon, which can grow up to six times as fast as conventional fish, is one of the "new" animals investigated by the commission.

The commission warned that the GM fish should not be allowed in UK fish farms until the possible long term effects it has on the food chain are known.

The commission also called for a new strategic advisory body to consider the development of GM farm animals.

It also recommended a review of current legislation surrounding farm animals and the creation of a system to monitor the progress of GM animals to watch out for unexpected health or welfare problems.

The commission's chairman Professor Malcolm Grant said: At the moment GM and cloned animals in conventional agriculture are some way off. The government must use this period to avoid the problems we had when the public suddenly became aware of the issues around GM crops and GM food."

Although the furore over GM crops has died down, it is still a legal requirement for pubs, and other outlets selling food, to label any food that contains GM ingredients.

But although the law remains, and a majority of pubs mark GM food on their menu, many publicans say they have never been asked to prove whether their food-labelling complies with the law.

The latest concerns over GM animals could lead to further legislation - and more unnecessary red tape - for licensees.

The law as it stands

Under the Food Labelling (amendment) Regulations 1999, any item on a menu containing genetically modified (GM) soya and/or maize must be clearly labelled.

You can inform your customers with a note on the menu explaining that food marked with an asterix contains ingredients produced from GM soya or maize.

If you use a blackboard and your dishes change regularly, you can make a general statement such as "some of the foods may contain GM ingredients - ask staff for details" Make sure your staff have detailed knowledge of these products.

For more information contact your local environmental health officer or the Food Standards Agency on 020 7276 8000.

Related topics: News

Property of the week

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more