Greenpeace cows invade Sainsbury's HQ to return rejected GM milk

Last edited 17 May 2004 at 8:00am
17 May, 2004

Greenpeace today won an agreement from Sainsbury's to meet with them to discuss how the supermarket giant can remove GM from their milk supply.

The agreement followed a two and a half-hour occupation of Sainsbury's HQ in Holborn by sixty activists including forty-five dressed as pantomime cows.

The cows, Greenpeace milkmen and a Jamie Oliver look-alike were returning 1,000 pints of milk from Sainsbury's customers.

The cows roamed around the 8 storey offices passing out CD-Roms with messages from customers demanding that the company stops supporting the GM industry. They also searched for Sainsbury's senior management, who have been ignoring Greenpeace's requests for a meeting to discuss removing GM from their supply chain for the past six months.

The cows successfully located the senior manager responsible for the decision and after discussions with campaigners she signed a letter agreeing to a meeting on June 1st between Greenpeace, senior Sainsbury's executives, Sainsbury's milk suppliers and other key players in the dairy industry.

"This is a great result", said Sarah North, Greenpeace GM campaigner, "Sainsbury's seem to have acknowledged that they can't keep ignoring their customers views on this issue We hope that this meeting will be the first step towards Sainsbury's changing their GM policy".

She continued, "The company says it leads the pack in producing quality foods, but it still supports the GM industry. Every year it sells millions of pints of own-brand milk that comes from cows fed on GM. Huge shipments of GM are coming into the country every month because retailers like Sainsbury's refuse to go completely GM-free".

She added: "Growing GM threatens the environment with irreversible contamination. Sainsbury's shouldn't be supporting this business. At the meeting we will demonstrate to them how they can go GM-free cheaply and easily".

The dumped milk was given to Greenpeace by Sainsbury's customers angry at the company's policy. On May 8th Greenpeace conducted milk exchanges outside 20 Sainsbury's stores where customers were given the chance to exchange GM milk for the organic alternative free of charge. Cities across the country have seen the Greenpeace herd protesting outside Sainsbury's under the banner: "THERE'S SOMETHING SCARY IN THE DAIRY."

A new report released by Greenpeace last week showed that milk producers could go GM-free at no cost to consumers or dairy farmers. The added cost of less than 1p per litre could be easily absorbed by retailers, whose huge mark-ups on dairy lines could comfortably accommodate the switch. Marks & Spencer has already ensured its milk is sourced from cows fed on a non-GM diet.

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