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LONDON (AP) Three major British grocery chains have ended their bans on providing genetically modified feed to chickens.

Sainsbury's, the Co-operative Group and Marks & Spencer cited short supplies of non-GM feed as the reason for the change.

A Co-operative Group statement released Monday said it is no longer "feasible" to insist on non-GM feed.

It said the amount of genetically modified crops grown worldwide has increased rapidly in recent years, making it "increasingly difficult" to find a secure, guaranteed supply of non-GM soya for use as animal feed.

The move has been criticized by UK environmental groups but Marks & Spencer spokeswoman Liz Williams said the chain is not aware of any negative customer response.

She said sales have not been affected by the switch, which took effect in mid-April.