Answers received from local
In December 1999, Nottingham FOE wrote
to local branches of Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Safeway, Sainsburys and
Tesco. We were trying to find out what their policies are on GM foods,
pesticides, local food, organic products, packaging, antibiotics, and fair
trade. (See previous page for questions)
The responses we received varied quite
a lot. We are still waiting to hear anything from Asda or Tesco. But a
number of general points about the big supermarket chains can be made:
- All claim to be working towards the elimination and
identification of GM ingredients in the foods on their shelves.
- Pesticide contamination seems to be beginning to
be recognised as an issue of concern to consumers.
- Sourcing food locally seems to be a problem. Their
definition of "homegrown" seems to be "produced in the UK".
- There is a general increase in the range of organic
products on offer, unfortunately at premium prices.
- Little evidence was seen on the supermarkets having
policies on the reduction of waste (apart from cutting the cost of products
close to their sell-by date to avoide food waste) or to cut down over-packaging.
- Neither were there many policies on monitoring antibiotic
residues in meat and dairy produce.
- Fair and ethical trading is generally seen as a matter
of meeting legal requirements rather that improving pay levels and working
conditions for third world workers.
- There was also a worrying tendency for those environmental
policies to be printed in the form of a glossy brochure.