Brits Protest Modified Food

You could never accuse the British of being gourmets, but if there's one thing they hate it's having someone mess with their food, CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton reports.

"I think that we were meant to eat food the way nature intended it to be," said one worried English mother.

So there was a public outcry when the British discovered what many Americans are just beginning to realize -- that some of the food they eat has been genetically modified.

The discovery followed a controversial British experiment that suggested rats fed with genetically modified potatoes developed abnormalities.

In America, genetic engineering may be seen as progress, but in Britain, it's considered sinister. Widespread public resistance has led to protestors destroying experimental crops.

"We're taking action on behalf of the public because the government isn't listening," says Douglas Parr of Greenpeace.

It's easy to create food scares in Britain, because there have been so many of them.

"It's like Mad Cow disease," said one English shopper. "They want to shove it on us before they know enough about the subject."

Mad Cow disease was the most serious. People died and cows were slaughtered, despite initial assurances from the government that there was no problem.

Now the government and industry are trying to explain the benefits of genetic modification, showing how science is attempting to increase crop yields, but the public isn't buying it.

Supermarkets are emptying their shelves of GM foods. A growing number of European countries are imposing labelling requirements, and in some cases outright bans on genetically modified foods from America.


Some countries are imposing labeling requirements.

Millions of shoppers throughout Europe are demonstrating the power of consumer choice. They are standing up to their governments and the food industry and saying, "No." They are not going to buy genetically modified foods until they are completely satisfied that they are safe.