Kraft Campaign Launch, February 6th Nationwide
--- Email Kraft at www.gefoodalert.org to urge them to remove genetically engineered ingredients from food products. ---
Today, Feb. 6th, Genetically Engineered Food Alert joined consumer advocates in over 170 cities around the United States, Canada, and Australia to launch a new campaign that calls on Kraft Foods, to remove untested, unlabeled genetically engineered ingredients from its products. Kraft Foods is the largest food and beverage company in the US and a subsidiary of Philip Morris company.
Genetically Engineered Food Alert member groups and allies are holding press conferences and leafleting at grocery stores in an effort to draw attention to the public health and environmental concerns associated with genetically engineered foods and to inform consumers that Kraft Food*s genetically engineered products are neither adequately safety tested nor labeled.
"We are urging Kraft Foods to remove all genetically engineered ingredients from its products until adequate testing, labeling and liability are put into place to protect our health and the environment." stated Kate Madigan, corporate advocate for the State PIRGs, a member group of the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition.
Independent testing released today by the coalition confirms the use of genetically engineered ingredients in Kraft products, including engineered corn and soy. The tests commissioned by the coalition determined that a variety of Kraft products including Taco Bell taco shells, Boca Burgers, Snackwell's crackers, Lunchables, Tombstone Pizzas, Post Blueberry Morning Cereal, and Stove Top Stuffing contained genetically engineered ingredients.
"The results are in " and the tests indicate that Kraft continues to use genetically engineered ingredients in the foods that they sell to US consumers," said Rebecca O'Malley, ecopledge.com Program Director.
Coalition members pointed to a lack of corporate responsibility on behalf of Kraft, indicating that this is not the first time that the company has dealt with controversy over their use of genetically engineered ingredients in their products. By 1999, consumer demand in Europe forced Kraft Foods to remove genetically engineered ingredients from some of their well-known products, offering Europeans genetically engineered-free products. The company has yet to offer such alternatives in the United States.
The coalition also pointed to Kraft's second round of problems with the use of genetically engineered crops, this time in the United States. In September of 2000, through independent testing, Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition discovered StarLink *, a genetically engineered corn not approved for human consumption (because of concerns that it has characteristics of known allergens) in Taco Bell brand taco shells, a Kraft product. This finding resulted in Kraft recalling millions of boxes of taco shells and a switch by the company to white corn to avoid further StarLink* contamination.
"Kraft Foods needs to listen to its customers when it comes to genetically engineered foods," said Lisa Archer, grass roots coordinator for Friends of the Earth a member group of the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition.
"The company is aware of the potential health and environmental risks of genetically engineered foods, yet they have chosen profits over precaution."
Consumer and environmental advocates representing Genetically Engineered Food Alert have requested a meeting with Kraft CEO Betsy Holden to discuss environmental and public health issues related to the use of genetically engineered ingredients in their products, but the request thus far has been denied.
Communications by the coalition to Kraft Foods as well as test results may be found at the coalition website, www.gefoodalert.org
Genetically Engineered Food Alert founding members include: 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.
Genetically Engineered Food Alert, a coalition of health, consumer and environmental groups, supports the removal of genetically engineered ingredients from grocery store shelves unless they are adequately safety tested and labeled. The campaign provides web-based opportunities for individuals to express concern about genetically engineered food and fact sheets on health, environmental and economic information about genetically engineered food. The campaign is endorsed by more than 250 scientists, religious leaders, doctors, chefs, environmental and health leaders, as well as farm groups.