|ecoglobe news (13 September 1999)|
Pru Leigh warned today that regulations forcing caterers to list genetically modified ingredients would be "unworkable" and will be ignored by many retailers.
BBC News AP September 13, 1999 - The restaurateur Pru Leith was cited as speaking out as a new survey revealed that more than half of pubs, restaurants and take-aways were not aware of next week's deadline for labelling GM ingredients in food they serve.
Ms Leith was quoted as saying, "There is no chance overworked restaurateurs will check the provenance of up to 30 ingredients for every recipe. Most of them will ignore the directive and the rest will say they are GM-free without checking. There is no demand for the public for this legislation. I have yet to hear of a single restaurateur, publican or chain operator who has ever been asked about GMs by a customer."
The survey, for BBC1's Breakfast News, also found that 31 per cent of food outlets said they would not be ready to comply with the new regulations in time. The new law, effective from next Monday, requires restaurants to label their menus if the food contains GM soya or GM maize. The regulations were announced in March, giving businesses six months to make the necessary changes. But 53 per cent of 262 outlets questioned in 10 of Britain's largest cities said they were unaware of the deadline.
Some local authorities fear they will find it difficult to enforce the labelling law. They blame this on a lack of resources both to carry out laboratory tests on food to see if it contains GM ingredients and to conduct checks at premises. Cambridgeshire County Council said this week it was introducing a total ban on GMs to avoid the cost of labelling every school menu.
At the same time some of London's top restaurants, including the Savoy and the River Cafe, have already pledged to ban genetically modified foods. Antonio Carluccio of the Neal Street Restaurant and The Square Restaurant's Philip Howard are part of a new Avoiding GM Foods campaign which includes displaying a logo at their establishments.
It is part of Greenpeace's True Food campaign, involving more than 20 restaurants in the capital.
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