Groups Cite Company's Use of Genetically Engineered Food Products
Environmental and Consumer Groups Protest Starbucks
Friends of the Earth, in cooperation with other groups, is protesting against the Starbucks corporation's use of genetically-manipulated food in its products.
A coalition of environmental, food safety, consumer and labor advocates held a press conference and rally to call for corporate responsibility from the Seattle-based Starbucks corporation. Friends of the Earth, Organic Consumers Association and other citizen groups protested outside the Starbucks on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Food safety and environmental advocates passed out information on the dangers of genetically engineered ingredients while labor activists highlighted unfair wages and working conditions.
The groups' top concern is the genetically engineered (GE) food products that Starbucks is using everyday without consumers' knowledge. The protesters want Starbucks to stop using GE foods and promise to never use GE coffee beans. Moreover, the groups want Starbucks to follow through on a promise to improve the working conditions on the plantations that supply them coffee and actively promote Fair Trade coffee.
"Genetic engineered foods have not been adequately tested, so threats to public and environmental health are unknown," said Larry Bohlen, Director of the Community, Health and Environment Program at Friends of the Earth. "As the largest gourmet coffee shop chain in the world, Starbucks can and should stop putting public and environmental health at stake by ending the use of genetically engineered products in their stores."
Starbucks recently bowed to consumer pressure to begin selling certified Fair Trade, shade-grown coffee beans in bulk. However, Starbucks is refusing to brew or promote Fair Trade coffee.
"Only shade-grown organic coffee avoids the use of toxic pesticides, and protects the environment and preserves essential habitat for migratory songbirds," said Bohlen.
The protest comes one month after Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Global Exchange, the Center for Food Safety, Organic Consumers Association, Rights Action and other groups wrote a formal letter to Orin Smith, CEO of Starbucks. The letter asks Starbucks to go GE free, to start brewing and seriously promoting organic, Fair Trade, shade grown coffee, and to improve the wages and working conditions of the workers on their coffee plantations. Starbucks, however, refuses to cooperate fully with public outcry. This new round of protests took place in hundreds of locations around the world. More information may be found at www.purefood.org.
What's your opinion? Is going to Starbucks directly a better, or worse, tactic than lobbying in Congress? How important is food safety to you? Tell The Progress Report what you think:
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