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Britain\'s Co-op supermarket group rejects GM crops

23.10.2003
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Britain\ s Co-op supermarket group rejects GM crops
LONDON - Britain\'s Co-op supermarket group this week said it would reject any government proposal that paved the way for commercial plantings of genetically modified (GMO) crops in the UK. The food retailer - also Britain\'s largest farmer with 85,000 acres (34,400 hectares) of land - said an independent survey of 1,183 of its customers and members had found that 55 percent were against GM, while a further 38 percent said they were yet to be convinced of its benefits. Co-op said 78 percent of those surveyed by pollsters NOP also said they had yet to be convinced that the commercial growing of GM crops should be allowed in Britain. As a result, Co-op said it had decided against growing GM crops on its own land, selling GM food under its own brand, or investing bank customers\' money in GM technology. The Co-op group, which sells around five billion pounds ($8.37 billion) worth of food annually through 1,800 convenience stores, also owns the UK\'s Co-operative Bank (CPBB_p.L: Quote, Profile, Research) . \"We have listened to the experts on both sides of the debate, but on the strength of current scientific knowledge, and the overwhelming opposition of our members, the Co-op is saying no to the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK,\" Martin Beaumont, the group\'s chief executive, said in a statement. Scientists in Britain last week ruled that after three years of farm-scale trials some GM crops were more harmful to wildlife than those grown conventionally, further fuelling demands for the government to keep them from being grown commercially. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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