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CONCERN OVER
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
INGREDIENTS IN SOME SOUPS

Food Safety and Environmental Groups call on Campbell Soup Company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from its products. Consistent with the wishes of American consumers, Genetically Engineered Food Alert calls for complete safety testing and labeling of all genetically engineered foods

A coalition of seven national food safety and environmental organizations has announced the formation of a major new campaign totake genetically engineered ingredients off American grocery store shelves until they are fully tested and labeled. As the first formal action of itscampaign, Genetically Engineered Food Alert called on the Campbell Soup Company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from its productsuntil all safety testing has been completed, and to label such products immediately. The campaign also announced plans to add to efforts already inprogress 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 headquartersconfirmed 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 itsfood here.”

“This is the first time the FDA has given a class of food additives a blanket exception from safety testing,” said Philip E. Clapp, president of the NationalEnvironmental Trust. “There’s a very simple reason: the Clinton Administration is using the FDA to promote exports of genetically engineered crops – notto protect consumers.”

Most Americans support labeling: a poll conducted last year for Time Magazine and CNN showed that 81 percent want “genetically engineered foodslabeled as such.” As with nutrition labels that provide basic information about content of food products, Genetically Engineered Food Alert organizersbelieve 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-20thOH). “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 TradePolicy, National Environmental Trust, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, and the State Public Interest ResearchGroups.

The campaign began today with the endorsement of more than 250 chefs, religious leaders, doctors, environmental and health leaders, farm interestsand scientists. In addition to seeking endorsements, Genetically Engineered Food Alert will document and bring to light problems with geneticallyengineered foods through a series of reports. The coalition will also register consumer comments and submit them to government and corporateofficials.

“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 safetytesting 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 FDAto remove genetically engineered food and crops from the market until they have been fully tested. Further, Genetically Engineered Food Alert believesthat genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled to ensure the consumer's right-to-know, and that the biotechnology corporations thatmanufacture 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, withGenetically Engineered Food Alert members and local activists demonstrating outside of supermarkets, informing shoppers of the campaigns againstCampbell’s and Kellogg’s. Genetically Engineered Food Alert invited shoppers to join the campaign by visiting its web site (GEFoodAlert.org), and askedthem to register their concerns with Campbell’s and Kellogg’s directly by calling the companies and by sending letters to the companies urging them toremove 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 theInstitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “Despite what biotech industry lobbyists are saying, genetic engineering isn’t the same as cross-breedingplants. 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 andthe environment, and called for stronger regulation of these crops. Shortly after that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement thatneither requires pre-market testing nor mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, and is not designed to detect potential adverse health effectsfrom 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 andDrug Administration (FDA) demanding the development of a thorough pre-market and environmental testing regime and mandatory labeling for geneticallyengineered foods. The petition provided FDA with a blueprint for developing a mandatory pre-market safety regime based upon the legal requirements ofthe Food Additive petition process.

Written by: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD ALERT


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