connor mcveigh mcdonalds

Buying policies on GM-fed meat and dairy are back under scrutiny following this week’s NFU conference.

The ‘Frankenfood’ debate erupted again after Connor McVeigh, UK supply chain director at McDonald’s, admitted the fast food chain allowed GM feed in its supply chain.

Speaking at the NFU conference in Birmingham this week, McVeigh said customers “unequivocally” rejected GM ingredients but it had become too difficult to source GM-free feed.

His stance was backed by David Hughes, professor of food marketing at Imperial College London, who told delegates 80% of global maize and soy was now GM.

The comments provoked a media storm, with the nationals declaring most supermarket meat was “tainted” by GM introduced “behind consumers backs”.

Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, called for more openness with shoppers over the use of GM crops in animal feed. “If it’s so wonderful, let people choose,” he told the Daily Mail.

But the NFU insisted meat and dairy from animals on a GM diet was no different to that from non-GM fed animals.

“This is why EU law states that food from animals fed a GM diet does not need to be labelled as such,” said Helen Ferrier, NFU science and regulatory affairs adviser.

Ferrier said consumers could choose GM-free meat and dairy by buying organic, but stressed there was “no evidence” to suggest GM feed was unsafe.

An AHDB spokesman pointed out UK beef and lamb was predominantly fed on grass and silage “Just 0.1% of global soya production is used in feed for UK beef and sheep,” he said.

The major supermarkets changed their policies on GM-fed poultry in 2013. Most now allow meat and dairy from GM-fed animals.