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Wednesday, 03 February 2010

Supermarkets urged to lead debate on nanotech in foods

Big-name retailers like Tesco and Carrefour should help prepare consumers for innovations in the food sector, according to the top civil servant in the EU executive's directorate for health and consumer protection. Robert Madelin, director-general of the European Commission's DG Sanco, told a meeting of retailers that supermarkets needed to be upfront in explaining the risks and benefits of advances such as nanotechnology.Pointing to the genetically-modified (GM) food fiasco of the 1990s, he said supermarkets had "followed" the crowd rather than taking the lead.On GM, they [retailers] followed their customers and took products off the shelves. On other technologies, they could lead and prepare the debate. "They have a role in spurring innovation," he told a meeting of the European Retail Round Table in Brussels on Monday (18 January). Madelin said powerful retailers should try to take a long-term view and ask themselves what their role is in the context of the EU 2020 strategy.

Source: Euractiv