The GM Free Derbyshire group began in 2014 when members of the Sound Bites co-op found out the samosas we had been buying were cooked in oil made from genetically modified soya.
We spoke to our supplier and they agreed to change to GM free oil. But we wanted to go further, and formed a group to create a leaflet, online survey, and a letter to local takeaways.
We visited 20 takeaways, most of which said they would prefer GM-free oil and wanted help to source it. At present, the cheapest 20litre drums are made from GM soya, and it is only in the small print, saying just Vegetable Oil on the front in large letters.
We contacted local wholesalers and found out it only costs about 10p more/ litre to use GM free oil (rapeseed).
We contacted Derby city and Derbyshire county council Trading Standards bodies, and got them to do some work reminding local takeaways and restaurants of their legal responsibility to make it clear to customers if they are using GM ingredients.
We also attended a Takeaways Expo in London to speak to trade associations, and managed to get an article published in 3 trade magazines including the National Caterers Association (NCASS).
We took part in the Whole Food Action awareness raising campaign GMO OMG in Sep-Oct 2014 by spelling out GMO OMG in Sound Bites window, and doing a street stall getting people to take part in the Beyond GM visual petition GM Free ME.
In January 2015 we hosted a film night of the US documentary GMO OMG.
There is a lot more that could be done! If you are interested in getting involved, please contact gmfreederbyshire [@] gmail [dot] com. You could also ask any takeaway or restaurant if they know what oil they are using, that they have to inform their customers if it is GM, and that most people don’t want to eat GM food. See www.beyond-gm.org for more information.