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Date:

May 4, 2000

Subject:

Not The Real Thing

 





<br /> Pespi: Not The Real Thing<br />

- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com



Pepsi: Not The Real
Thing


color="#000000">Reuters

PepsiCo
shareholders on Wednesday rejected a bid to ban genetically altered
corn from the sweeteners used by the beverage and snack food giant to
make Pepsi Cola, Mountain Dew, and other sodas.

The proposal
offered by a social issues investment firm and opposed by management
was shot down by holders of 96 percent of the shares voted at
PepsiCo's annual meeting.

color="#000000">

Shareholders at
arch-rival Coca-Cola last month rejected an identical proposal, which
is based on arguments that potential problems with gene technology
expose beverage and food makers to the risk of future lawsuits and
consumer boycotts.

Bioengineered
crops are easier to grow and heartier than conventional varieties.
But critics have questioned whether they threaten human health or the
environment.

"Genetically
modified foods could pose a serious health danger to consumers,"
investment advisor Michael Harrington told the meeting.

Harrington,
president of Napa, California-based Harrington Investments, proposed
the PepsiCo ban in the name of clients holding 1,600 shares as well
as some 300 investment firms and religious groups in the Interfaith
Center for Corporate Responsibility.

"The use of
GM (genetically modified) corn to produce high-fructose corn syrup
may subject this company to lawsuits and possible boycotts, subject
the company to financial damage and erode shareholder value,"
Harrington said.

He counseled
PepsiCo to follow the lead of its own chips and snacks division
Frito-Lay, which has taken a step back from modified crops by not
asking its farmers to plant gene-altered corn and potatoes for its
brands such as Doritos and Lay's.

But PepsiCo
chairman and chief executive officer Roger Enrico said modified crops
have been approved by food and health regulators around the world,
including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health
Organization.

"Our view is
that we should follow the science," Enrico said.

If regulators
change their view or if consumers walk away from products with
modified ingredients, PepsiCo "will act accordingly,"
Enrico added.

Harrington said
he and his allies have filed similar proposals for upcoming
shareholder meetings at seven other food companies -- McDonald's,
General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, and Sara
Lee.