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Marks & Spencer

Stop Press, 3 August 2006: M&S revises timetable for HVO removal from own brand products: new deadline is 1 January 2007.

M&S promises - hydrogenated oil-free by 2007

Major UK food retailer Marks & Spencer has committed to remove hydrogenated oil from their own-brand products by mid 2006, in a statement of 21 November 2005, which also claimed that hydrogenated oil was already removed from all their ready meals. This has now been revised to the beginning of 2007.

This is a major step forward for public health in the UK especially when taken together with similar commitments by other retailers including Tesco.

M&S statement on hydrogenated oil

Marks & Spencer today committed to remove all hydrogenated fats from its entire food range by mid 2006. The move follows the retailer's recent groundbreaking initiative to remove all artificial flavourings, artificial colourings and hydrogenated fats from all its chilled ready meals - setting leading standards in food retailing.

The additive and hydrogenated fat-free ready meals have been in store since October and today the retailer went one step further when it confirmed that all its foods would be free from hydrogenated fats by mid 2006.

This is a major milestone and follows on from the first ever additive-free range, Cook! launched by the retailer last month. Marks & Spencer has achieved a number of food industry firsts including the removal of MSG 10 years ago and banning the use of Tartrazine 20 years ago.

Earlier this year, Marks & Spencer embarked on a major additive reduction programme. The aim was to reduce all unnecessary additives and simplify compound ingredients in all its ready meals.

Guy Farrant, Director of Food at Marks & Spencer comments: "We know that consumers are concerned about additives and believe we are well ahead of any other retailer in terms of removing additives from all our foods.

"Over the past few months we've gone back to the kitchen to make over 450 recipe changes to our ready meals to remove artificial colourings, artificial flavourings and hydrogenated fats and most of these lines have no artificial preservatives³. For example, our Shepherds Pie contained 56 ingredients including nine in the lamb stock - it now contains 22 ingredients with just three in the lamb stock.

"Having removed artificial colourings, artificial flavourings and hydrogenated fats from our ready meals, we are now actively working to remove hydrogenated fat from all our food products, including confectionary, by mid 2006", Guy adds.

The move has been welcomed by leading charity, The Hyperactive Children's Support Group (HACSG), which recommends the removal of artificial additives from food. Nick Giovannelli, Project Director of HACSG, comments: "We welcome the move by Marks & Spencer to remove additives from its ready meals and applaud its commitment to further remove all hydrogenated fats from its entire food range by mid 2006. This is a significant undertaking and one that we believe consumers will welcome."

Products

M&S sell a great many products. Our advice for the time being is, check each product label before purchase. The following information was included in a Sunday Times article on this subject entitled M&S bans man-made fats from foods as health fears increase on 21 November 2005:

"Of the 5,000 food lines sold by Marks & Spencer, 1,200 were, until recently, made with hydrogenated vegetable fats. By the end of this month, that should have been cut to about 700."

Contact

Website: www.marksandspencer.com
Post: Marks & Spencer, 8th Floor East, Waterside House, 35 North Wharf Road, London W2 1NW.
Email: customer.services@marks-and-spencer.com
Phone: 0845 302 1234

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