Responding to pressure from Greenpeace, McDonald’s today announced that by April 2001 all its restaurants in Germany, Denmark and Sweden will serve only chicken raised on feed free of genetically modified (GM) ingredients.

Greenpeace urged the company to extend this commitment to Canada. “McDonald’s has realized that the majority of consumers do not want GM food – even in animal products, such as dairy products and meat,” said Greenpeace executive director Peter Tabuns. “If the company can protect its customers from GM food in several countries, it should guarantee Canadians that same protection.”

In July, Greenpeace Germany proved that McDonald’s fed genetically modified soya to chickens, which were then sold as Chicken McNuggets and McChicken Burgers to its customers. Local Greenpeace groups in more than 50 German cities have protested in front of the fast-food outlets with a message Los Genos: Genetic Engineering Week at McDonalds.

McDonald’s commitment comes after its competitor in Germany, Burger King, had previously declared its chicken to be GM-free as of 2001. Germany’s largest chicken producers already guarantee that the soya they use has not been genetically engineered.

“The demand for GM-free animal feed is increasing. At least 15,000 hectares of land are planted with soya just to feed the chickens for McDonald’s in Germany. This is an issue for all food companies. It is growing and will not go away,” says Tabuns.

“Consumer resistance to commercial growth of GM crops increases daily. That’s why 1000 people turned up at the Vogue theatre last Friday and why hundreds of people were out on the streets last night protesting the biotech industry conference at the Hotel Vancouver. We’re here to stay. GM crops have got to go.”

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