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Novartis withdraws "functional" food product from the UK market

Aviva product range abandoned after less than a year
LONDON, 22 September 2000.

Novartis have announced that they have withdrawn the "Aviva" food
range of products from sale in the UK. Novartis, which produces
genetically modified seeds, as well as medical products, launched the
range of products in November 1999 with a 20 million pound marketing
campaign.

Novartis claimed that the "Aviva" functional foods offered health
benefits to consumers including benefits for bones, heart and
digestion. Products in the range included cereal bars, biscuits, a hot
chocolate drink and a juice drink.

Marcus Williamson of gmfoodnews.com, states :

"Novartis made several mistakes in launching the Aviva range, at a
time when the public is especially conscious of the ingredients used
in food.

Several Aviva products contained soya, which consumers are avoiding
because of the GM connection, and Aspartame, the artificial sweetener,
which has according to the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) 92
possible side effects, including death.

Furthermore, the ingredients were not comprehensively labelled, so
that the consumer could not tell if the vegetable oil and vegetable
fat being used were from a GM suspect source."

In an e-mail received at the gmfoodnews.com offices, Yvan Deurbroeck
of Novartis Switzerland, states :

"We are currently reviewing the situation so that we can come back
with a more powerful consumer proposal in the future."

Marcus Williamson responds :

"It is to be hoped that the next offerings from Novartis will not
contain GM suspect ingredients, will not contain the artificial
sweetener Aspartame or any "E" numbers and that their ingredients will
be comprehensively labelled.

If functional foods are to have a future in the UK, they will need to
fit with the demands of the health conscious consumer for really
healthy food, without the additives and with labelling that shows the
real origin of the ingredients used.

In fact, if Novartis is serious about launching products for consumer
health, it should use all organic ingredients."

CONTACT

Marcus Williamson
Genetically Modified Food - UK and World News
E-mail : marcus@myrealbox.com
Web : http://www.gmfoodnews.com/

Yvan Deurbroeck
Novartis Switzerland
E-mail : yvan.deurbroeck@ch.Novartis.com
Web : http://www.novartis.com/

NOTES TO EDITORS

Aviva was launched in November 1999 with a 20 million pound campaign
run by Grey (GCI) UK. Aviva products were sold in UK supermarkets,
such as Sainsbury's.

Novartis announced in August 2000 that it was removing genetically
modified ingredients from all its food products.

Aspartame is made with genetically modified bacteria, according to
this article :http://www.connectotel.com/gmfood/ios2006.txt

For information about the 92 side effects of Aspartame use, see :
http://www.dorway.com/badnews.html

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