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GM stick up at Tesco in Bristol

ladybird | 15.02.2011 20:19 | Bio-technology | Health | Social Struggles | World

Tesco have been pushing their 'we don't use Genetically Modified ingredients, honest' line for years. With evidence mounting of the horrific impact of GM soya in South America, it seemed about time to start making some noise about the way GM has been creeping back onto the shelves, especially when we heard they'd gone so far as to make an in store display of GM oil.

6 Bristol crew got together for the first time today to pay a visit to our local Tesco megastore. Equipped with a spare hour and some labels and leaflets, we hoped to warn some of the shoppers about the proliferation of GM oil, and to make a start at reminding Tesco head office why they dropped GM ingredients ten years ago.

The first complication was that the Bristol store wasn't carrying a convenient floor display of KTCs' blended oil, but instead placed the giant drums on the top shelf. The quick deployment of a trolley, and someone siting on someone else's shoulders, got us the lift we needed, and drew a modest crowd, including the two in store security guards. Some of the crew chatted to the manager while others leafleted shoppers and hung up a photo display showing the impact GM is having on communities in Argentina and Paraguay.

The situation there is horrific, and has gone almost entirely unreported. GM soya is designed to be resistant to Monsantos highly toxic weedkiller- Roundup. As a result land grabs are being made for giant soya plantations, followed up by the spraying of toxic chemicals from 'planes throughout the year. Communities that try to hang on near these green deserts often find their crops wiped out by pilots eager to cover everything. People that find themselves caught up in the spray, or in the toxic rainwater run off it creates suffer serious skin problems, paralysis, birth defects, and even death. Mothers from Ituzaingo have been documenting these effects, and mapping their impacts on communities. To look at some of their work check gmwatch and search under 'glyphosate photos'.

Meanwhile, back at the store we were getting a remarkably positive response, even for Bristol. A passing punk read our leaflet and took up our right to express ourselves with the manager. Encouraged by the usual polite threats of arrest we left the store via a cat and mouse route with security, leafleting as we went, and met another shopper coming in who objected strongly to our being evicted, and again took up the case with staff. People in the car park were happy to stop and chat, and many were shocked by Tesco's position on the issue. We got through a couple of hundred leaflets and called it a day.

This sort of action alone is never going to bring down the agrochemical companies. But it was easy, fun and satisfying, and in the past proved to be an important part in the effective campaign against GM ingredients. It also helped lift the lid on the impact our food has on communities across the world. Stop GM is inviting anyone with a spare afternoon to try it out- stickers, leaflets and the photo display, along with a lot more information on the issue, are available under the 'take action' section of

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Display the following 3 comments

  1. photos — ladybird
  2. I thought — Shopper
  3. some clarity on labeling — Jo