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US Food Giant ConAgra Prepares for a GE-Free Future

6/6/00
ConAgra Hedges its Bet on Biotech
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(6 June - Cropchoice News) -- A Cropchoice investigation has revealed
that ConAgra is taking steps to be able to promote GMO-free products.
While its elevators continue to buy biotech harvests, the Omaha-based
company has secured rights to a series of internet names related to
biotech-free foods. The names could be used by the company to promote
non-GMO products.

Last October, ConAgra quietly took ownership of a large set of internet
names related to GMOs, including at least nine anti-biotech websites, such
as "nogmo.com", "btfree.net", and "no-gm.com". Karen Savinski, ConAgra's
Director of Corporate Relations, told Cropchoice that "As a food company
we consider ourselves responsible for safe food, food choices and
educating our consumers. Owning a site such as [no-gmo.com] could play
into our future plans."

Savinski did not elaborate further. Cropchoice contacted an internet
consultant for ConAgra who said he registered the names at the request of
the Omaha-based company; but had not been told of any specific plans for
them.

Two of the domain names owned by ConAgra relate to specific Bt products
produced by biotech companies Monsanto and Novartis. The names
"bt176free.com" and "bt176free.net" refer to the Bt gene trademarked as
"NatureGard" by Monsanto/Mycogen and "Knockout" by Novartis, which uses
the gene in its "Maximizer" hybrids.

ConAgra has also acquired a number of potentially "pro-GMO" domain names
such as "gmoinfo.com" and "btinfo.net". None of the domains are currently
in use. They have been registered, and are now owned, by ConAgra. The
company can choose to use them (or not) at any time.

ConAgra is one of the world's biggest food companies, with over 70 brands
and operations in 35 countries. It's products include dozens of brands
familiar to American and international consumers, including Healthy
Choice, La Choy, Butterball, Banquet, Hunt's, Peter Pan, Swift, Eckrich,
Armour, and Monfort.

This story sent to you from Cropchoice.com by user request. Visit
http://www.cropchoice.com for more information. May be reproduced freely
for non-commercial purposes and with appropriate credit.

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