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July 19, 2000


Safeway protests


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

Emily McGee, 202-331-1010

Advocates of Safe and Nutritious Food Defend Genetic Engineering

Washington, DC, July 19, 2000 - Supporters of agricultural biotechnology
sponsored a counter-protest today against environmental activists calling
themselves "Genetically Engineered Food Alert". "Food Alert" activists
were protesting grocery stores and food producers selling genetically
engineered products.

"Agricultural biotechnology is an important and safe tool for improving
food products and boosting agricultural productivity," said Gregory Conko,
Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
CEI joined with other groups, including Consumer Alert, The Hudson
Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, Center for International
Food and Agriculture Policy, and the American Council on Science and
Health in supporting the decision by those companies to embrace genetic
engineering and agricultural biotechnology.

The "Genetically Engineered Food Alert" representatives appeared at a
Washington-area Safeway grocery store to demand that the supermarket
refund their money for products that contained genetically engineered
ingredients, claiming that such ingredients somehow make a products less

The counter-protestors, including five CEI staff members, were quick to
correct them, noting that not only are foods developed with biotechnology
safe for consumers and for the environment, they can be a powerful tool in
helping to alleviate global poverty and hunger. After Food Alert
activists returned food products purchased at Safeway earlier in the day,
CEI staffers immediately volunteered to repurchase those same items,
including canned soups, cookies, and breakfast cereals.

Counter-protestors distributed a letter praising Safeway for not giving in
to anti-biotechnology hysteria. They also distributed copies of a
Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology signed by nearly
2,800 scientists from around the world, including three Nobel laureates.

"Agricultural biotechnology allows scientists to create plants that are
more productive, more nutritious, cheaper to grow, and require less
fertilization," said Conko. "That's why so many scientists are rallying
in support of this technology."

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is
dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For
more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations,
at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.


Date: Jul 19 2000 19:57:41 EDT


This counter-protest is obviously a step in the right direction...or
perhaps the step is not so obvious.

Those who are familiar with mythopoesis, memetics, or Jungian archetypes
will immediately recognize how easily scientists could take the upper hand
by protesting appropriately. Prometheus, who brought fire from the gods,
was bound and his liver perpetually eaten by carrion birds... Christ,
another emissary, was nailed down, yet
the message lives. The shaman archetype survives, in the shape of the
modern scientist, who uses arcane devices, and who often speaks with
impenetrable prose to express the hidden truths which have been eked from
nature by obscure means.

The anti-biotech contingent strives to create martyrs for their cause, and
thus far, they have failed. They will try again, during the US Democrat
and Republican conventions...they hurl themselves against police, hoping
to show that the police, by opposing "righteous" crime, are the
wrongdoers, and with that, the eco-reactionaries hope to show that they,
who oppose civilization, are therefore right by default.

In spite of their efforts, none of them can evoke or rely upon the
yths/memes/archetypes which most powerfully motivate. A molecular
biologist, chained to an inanimate object and willing to have the
carrion-eaters/scornful crowds/unbelievers see him as a sacrifice will be
a more powerful symbol than anything the howling hordes of anarchy could
ever muster.

Date: Jul 20 2000 06:50:28 EDT
From: "C. S. Prakash" Subject: Letter to Safeway re: Biotech

National Consumer Coalition
"Protecting Consumers' Real Interests"

July 19, 2000

To the Owners, Managers, Employees, and Customers of Safeway Grocery

As consumer and public policy groups that support the importance of
agricultural biotechnology, we would ask Safeway not to heed the
unscientific claims of anti-biotechnology activists who would restrict the
development of this important technology that can benefit consumers around
the world.

Agricultural biotechnology promises many benefits to consumers in
industrial, as well as developing countries. Despite activists' charges
about the potential dangers of food produced with the help of modern
biotechnology, there has been no evidence to support these claims. On the
contrary, highly acclaimed scientific institutions on July 12 stated their
strong support for biotechnology. Seven independent academies from the
developed and developing world, including the National Academy of
Sciences, agreed that genetic modification of crops is crucial to
addressing the world's growing population and shrinking land for growing
food. Other leading scientists, now over 2,700, have signed a strong
declaration in support of biotechnology. Three Nobel Prize winners are
among them.

Agricultural biotechnology, while not a "magic bullet," could help to
provide consumers with an affordable and stable food supply through higher
crop yields and improved nutrition. Providing consumers with access to
low-priced fruits and vegetables plays an important role in improving
public health and living standards, not just in poorer countries, but also
for families in developed countries who have to live on fixed or

Organic food producers already provide products for some people who prefer
to eat food produced in a way that reflects their value system, among them
food produced without the use of modern biotechnology. However, consumers
who do not share their beliefs should not be forced to adopt those
standards, which would mean higher costs for food and fewer choices.

We congratulate Safeway shareholders who did not succumb to
anti-biotechnology fear-mongering at its recent shareholder meeting.
Again, we would ask Safeway not to heed those who would hamper the
development of this important technology.


American Council on Science and Health

Citizens Against Government Waste

Center for International Food and Agriculture Policy

Consumer Alert

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Policy