New Coalition Acts Against GM Food Dangers
Consistent with the wishes of American consumers, Genetically Engineered Food Alert calls for complete safety testing and labeling of all genetically engineered foods
A new coalition is actively confronting Campbell and Kellogg food companies about their use of untested genetically-manipulated foods. Here is their first-ever news announcement. Please visit their web site and with just a few mouse-clicks we can all participate in their campaign.
Food Safety and Environmental Groups call on Campbell Soup Company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from its productsWashington, DC – A coalition of seven national food safety and environmental organizations today announced the formation of a major new campaign to take genetically engineered ingredients off American grocery store shelves until they are fully tested and labeled. As the first formal action of its campaign, Genetically Engineered Food Alert called on the Campbell Soup Company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from its products until all safety testing has been completed, and to label such products immediately. The campaign also announced plans to add to efforts already in progress seeking removal of genetically engineered ingredients from Kellogg’s products.
For over 130 years, Campbell’s has built its name on “good, wholesome, high-quality food.” Because of consumer concern, Campbell’s, like Kellogg’s, has ceased using genetically engineered soy or corn in any of its products in Europe. In a letter dated June 9, 2000, Campbell’s US headquarters confirmed that the company does use genetically engineered corn and soy.
“As an American family icon associated with trust and wholesomeness, Campbell’s has a responsibility to the American public,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “As it has already done in Europe, Campbell’s should take genetically engineered ingredients out of its food here.”
“This is the first time the FDA has given a class of food additives a blanket exemption from safety testing,” said Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust. “There’s a very simple reason: the Clinton Administration is using the FDA to promote exports of genetically engineered crops -– not to protect consumers.”
Most Americans support labeling: a poll conducted last year for Time Magazine and CNN showed that 81 percent want “genetically engineered foods labeled as such.” As with nutrition labels that provide basic information about content of food products, Genetically Engineered Food Alert organizers believe that consumers have a right to know that they are eating genetically engineered foods.
“More and more food on store shelves contains genetically engineered ingredients, but none are labeled,” said Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-20th OH). “American consumers are the subject of a nationwide food experiment.”
ABOUT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD ALERT
The organizations that created Genetically Engineered Food Alert are the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Environmental Trust, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, and the State Public Interest Research Groups.
The campaign began today with the endorsement of more than 250 chefs, religious leaders, doctors, environmental and health leaders, farm interests and scientists. In addition to seeking endorsements, Genetically Engineered Food Alert will document and bring to light problems with genetically engineered foods through a series of reports. The coalition will also register consumer comments and submit them to government and corporate officials.
“This is the first time that consumer, health and environmental advocates have come together as a unified front in the United States to insist on safety testing and labeling of genetically engineered foods,” said Brent Blackwelder, president of the Friends of the Earth.
Genetically Engineered Food Alert calls on major food corporations to remove all genetically engineered ingredients from their products and on the FDA to remove genetically engineered food and crops from the market until they have been fully tested. Further, Genetically Engineered Food Alert believes that genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled to ensure the consumer's right-to-know, and that the biotechnology corporations that manufacture them are held responsible for any harm.
EVENTS IN OVER 20 CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY
Campaign organizers said that they plan a series of demonstrations in cities around the country. Today, more than 20 such events occurred, with Genetically Engineered Food Alert members and local activists demonstrating outside of supermarkets, informing shoppers of the campaigns against Campbell’s and Kellogg’s. Genetically Engineered Food Alert invited shoppers to join the campaign by visiting its web site, and asked them to register their concerns with Campbell’s and Kellogg’s directly by calling the companies and by sending letters to the companies urging them to remove genetically engineered ingredients from their products.
Genetically Engineered Food Alert events were held in the following cities: · San Francisco, CA · Los Angeles, CA · Miami, FL · Chicago, IL · Augusta, ME · Boston, MA · Baltimore, MD · Grand Forks, ND · Concord, NH · Santa Fe, NM · Carson City, NV · New York City, NY · Baltimore, MD · Camden, NJ · Washington, DC · Portland, OR · Seattle, WA · Madison, WI · Minneapolis, MN · Montpelier, VT.
“These foods are on our supermarket shelves without complete research and testing,” said Dr David Wallinga, senior scientist and project director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “Despite what biotech industry lobbyists are saying, genetic engineering isn’t the same as cross-breeding plants. Genetic engineering actually transfers genes across organisms that could never crossbreed naturally. And this can pose serious health effects, including increased allergenicity, toxicity and antibiotic resistance.”
RECENT CLINTON ADMINISTRATION POLICY
In April, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report stating that genetically engineered crops have the potential to harm food safety and the environment, and called for stronger regulation of these crops. Shortly after that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement that neither requires pre-market testing nor mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, and is not designed to detect potential adverse health effects from these foods.
Genetically Engineered Food Alert comes two months after the Center for Food Safety and other campaign members filed a legal petition with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding the development of a thorough pre-market and environmental testing regime and mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods. The petition provided FDA with a blueprint for developing a mandatory pre-market safety regime based upon the legal requirements of the Food Additive petition process.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE – GEFoodAlert.org
The campaign has launched a website as part of an effort to sign onto the call to action. The site provides sample letters so that consumers to send comments to Campbell’s and Kellogg’s and to FDA and USDA, fact sheets on health and environmental concerns about genetically engineered foods, campaign updates, press materials and information on the campaign.
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