CONSUMER GROUP FAULTS SHAW'S ON UNDECLARED GMOS

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts consumer advocacy group has criticized Shaw's Supermarkets for using undeclared, genetically modified organisms in its own-brand pancake mix.The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group said at a press conference on Jan. 11 that it believes GMOs will lead to more food allergies, echoing calls from many other groups in favor of labeling items containing genetically engineered

BOSTON -- A Massachusetts consumer advocacy group has criticized Shaw's Supermarkets for using undeclared, genetically modified organisms in its own-brand pancake mix.

The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group said at a press conference on Jan. 11 that it believes GMOs will lead to more food allergies, echoing calls from many other groups in favor of labeling items containing genetically engineered foods.

"There's no information on this pancake box about the potentially dangerous DNA contained in this pancake mix," said Jill Rubin, food safety advocate for the group.

Neither food manufacturers nor retailers in the United States are required to indicate through labeling whether foods they sell contain GMOs. The consumer advocacy group said it targeted Shaw's because its parent company, J Sainsbury, London, has excluded GMOs from all private-label products sold at its U.K. stores.

Shaw's told Boston's WCVB News that Sainsbury's removed GMOs in the United Kingdom due to lack of any governmental direction there. Here, however, Shaw's awaits direction from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which earlier this month indicated that labeling of GMOs is not necessary.

A statement from Shaw's said all the ingredients in Shaw's Brand Pancake Mix are deemed legal and safe by the FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Also, the ingredients in Shaw's Pancake Mix do not contain any allergen properties that are any different from traditionally grown products," the statement said.

A spokesman for Shaw's told SN that consumers have not complained about GMOs and are still buying the pancake mix.

"We saw no effect yesterday, and I doubt we will," the spokesman said recently.

Rubin said the product was tested at Genetic ID, a lab in Iowa, in a general yes/no test, coming back positive, "probably from corn flour," which she said is listed as an ingredient on the box.