Novartis, the Basel-based chemical and pharmaceuticals group, has announced it will end the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the production of its branded foods. However, it is to continue using GMOs in its seed production.
A Novartis spokesman said that since the end of June, all of its food brands sold in Europe's Benelux region had been certified GMO free. In September last year the company's babyfood brand, Gerber, also stopped using GMOs.
The international environmental pressure group, Greenpeace, welcomed Novartis' decision to end the use of GMOs. A spokesman said the Novartis executive, Philippe Lanners, had written to Greenpeace saying that the decision to end GMO use had been taken because of public distrust of genetic engineering.
However, Greenpeace has accused Novartis of double standards for failing to end the use of GMOs in its seeds, saying that they present a threat to human health and the environment.
Novartis rejected the Greenpeace criticisms, saying that the decision to stop using GMOs in its food production had been influenced by commercial pressures alone. A spokesman said the company remained convinced that the public would eventually recognise the benefits of GMOs.
swissinfo with agencies
In compliance with the JTI standards