Shopworkers at the Safeway stores in Troon, Prestwick, Ayr and Cumnock are looking forward to learning and earning when they take advantage of new lifelong learning opportunities, part of a ground-breaking initiative between their union Usdaw and employer Safeway. A special roadshow will visit the stores this week to publicise the courses available and sign up new learners on anything from computers to languages.
The first Fairtrade citrus and apples will be sold in the UK in the next fortnight, brought in by Capespan from South Africa's Thandi project. One of the retailers to take the Thandi lines will be Tesco, with Fairtrade oranges the first in-store.
People are taking in less dioxins and related chemicals from their food, a Food Standards Agency survey has shown. Levels of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were analysed in the 2001 Total Diet Survey.
The study, which looked at samples from each of 19 food groups and used food bought from 24 places around the UK, showed that adults' average intake of these chemicals has halved between 1997 and 2001, and the percentage of adults exceeding the new UK safety limit from their diets fell from 35% to 1.1% in the same period.
The National Farmers' Union, British Retail Consortium, British Hospitality Association and Food and Drink Federation have together issued a joint response to the goverment's draft Food and Health Problem Analysis paper [pdf]. The combined statement calls for a consistent practical message of a balanced diet based on the realities of consumer behaviour, rather than the demonising of particular "unhealthy" foods.
The UK's main supermarket operators have said they will not stock genetically modified foods because consumers do not want them. Bosses of Tesco, Sainsbury, Safeway and Asda were invited to give their opinions to the government as part of a nationwide debate on whether GM crops are commercially viable.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said, "Retailers would happily stock GM foods if we had strong evidence of consumer demand. But it doesn't make commercial sense... no one is going to stock products consumers don't want to buy." A Tesco spokesman said "customers... are telling us they don't want GM."
A major scientific report recently concluded that genetically modified crops pose a very low risk to human health, and that food derived from GM crops is probably as safe as conventional varieties. However, the 24-member panel said that more research is needed.
The eight-week long debate is due to finish this Friday.