GM food banned at Monsanto canteen
24th December 1999
Genetically-modified food has been banned at GM giant Monsanto's own staff canteen, it has emerged.
Managers in charge of catering at the company's UK headquarters in High Wycombe, Bucks, said they took the decision 'in response to concern raised by our customers'.
Friends of the Earth, which campaigns against the use of GM ingredients, said it proved that at a time of mounting public concern over the safety of GM foods, even Monsanto's own caterers had 'no confidence' in the company's products.
The canteen at Monsanto's High Wycombe base is run by an outside company, Sutcliffe Catering, which is owned by Granada Food Services.
Mike Batchelor, quality systems director of Granada Food Services, said in a statement: 'In response to concern raised by our customers over the use of GM (foods) and to comply with government legislation, we have taken the decision to remove, as far as practicable, GM soya and maize from all food products served in our restaurant.'
He added that the step had been taken 'to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve'. Tony Combes, director of corporate affairs at Monsanto, denied that the move was embarrassing for the company and said the irony of it was that it restricted the choice of customers to decide for themselves whether they ate GM products.
He said that at Monsanto's Cambridge offices the canteen was run in-house and had a different policy on GM foods. 'We believe in choice. At our Cambridge restaurant the notice says some products 'may contain GMOs' because our staff are happy to eat foods sprayed with fewer chemicals,' he said. Mr Combes pointed out that Granada's policy was a blanket one, covering all its catering outlets.