Retailers have made it clear to the UK government that with customer opinions so divided on the subject of GM's, it would not be prudent for them to stock products containing genetically modified material.
And this brings the fears over GMOs back into focus, according to Mark Baillache, partner specialising in food at KPMG.
"While the public is still so undecided about the use of GMOs, retailers will be on a state of heightened alert," says Baillache. "Desperate not to be embarrassed by genetically modified products, ingredients or derivatives turning up in their stores, they will scrutinise their suppliers more than ever before.
"The need for food manufacturers to be 100% certain of what is in their own supply chain will never have been greater, because restoring damaged brand equity after the event is a very expensive business."
Baillache says he is most concerned for the smaller and medium-sized manufacturers. "These companies do not have the resources and leverage that A-brand manufacturers have to deal with the increased costs required to enhance the safety of the food supply chain," he points out.
"The smaller ones are simply not so well positioned and, if something were to go wrong, they might not be able to survive the resulting backlash from retailers and consumers alike."
In any instance of unexpected genetically modified material surfacing, says Baillache, the focus of attention will shift immediately to the food manufacturer. and it will be important that the right guilty party can be identified ­ not just whoever happens to be the most convenient candidate.
"Having watertight supply chain assurance programmes in place, as well as contracts and agreements which clearly delineate responsibility, will be vital," Baillache says. "This may sound suspiciously like being able to pass the buck but it is in fact part of a far larger process of ensuring that all players in the chain can trust each other."