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Date:

July 18, 2000

Subject:

Activists Target Campbell's Soup

 

AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com
From Friends of the Earth website, also lists the 20 cities targeted for
today.
http://www.foe.org/eco/gefaalert.html

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

Washington, 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 exception 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 (GEFoodAlert.org), 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 launched a website today 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.