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US Organic Corn Chips Exported to Britain Are Found to Be
Contaminated by Genetic Engineered Corn

UK WHOLEFOOD TRADE

Genetic Food Alert campaign
c/o 23 Fleming Street, Glasgow, G31 1PQ Tel: 0141 554 6099 Fax: 0141 556 5589
lindsay@gntx.freeserve.co.uk,
ATTENTION OF NEWS DESK - Released 4/2/99

FIRST CASE OF GMO FOOD CONTAMINATION

Dangers from GM crops highlighted as Organic produce which was found to be
contaminated with GM material is recalled and destroyed by manufacturers.

Over 87,000 packets of Organic Tortilla chips have been recalled and destroyed
by European and UK distributors after routine analysis revealed that
genetically modified material was present in the product.

The material containing a gene from the Cauliflower mosaic virus was
detected by
European importers DO-IT in three produce lines made from yellow maize. This
gene is found in several species of GM plant, but principally in GM maize.

DO-IT and UK distributors De Rit acted quickly to recall all effected product
lines. Manufacturer Terra Prima has conducted tests on all of the other
products that they supply and on all subsequent batches of the Tortilla chips
and these have all been given the all clear. Terra Prima is based in Wisconsin
but the maize used was grown on a 7,000 acre organic farm in Texas, a
region in
which many farmers grow the controversial GM Maize.

UK Wholefood Trade spokesperson Lindsay Keenan said today;

We can not praise the responsible attitudes and prompt actions of these
companies highly enough. They have acted in an exemplary and very responsible
fashion. Their actions are a credit both to themselves and to the wider
organic
and natural foods industry. They have tested the products, spotted the
contamination, taken swift action to recall the product and put in place
further safe-guards to prevent any recurrence.

An investigation by the companies into the source of the contamination is
still
ongoing. Cross pollination by GM maize grown on nearby farms is the most
likely
explanation at this time, however the investigation is made difficult by the
fact that there is no requirement for monitoring of the genetically modified
crops that are grown in the surrounding areas.

What this case highlights is that the Wholefood trade and Organic farmers will
not tolerate contamination of the food we produce by genetically engineered
genes. Whilst companies such as Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer might be
happy
to sell you produce containing GM ingredients our trade is clear that we
consider this to be unwanted, unacceptable and potentially dangerous
contamination.

The case of organic farmer Guy Watson from Devon who took the government to
court last year to stop a field trial of GM maize being planted adjacent to
his
organic maize comes to mind. He was rightly concerned about the probability of
cross pollination and thereby contamination by the genetic crop. In that case
the GM maize was actually pulled out by local people who wanted to avoid the
possible contamination.

We repeat our concern that once genetically engineered crops are released into
the environment they are impossible to contain and that they threaten to
pollute natural species thereby destroying any notion of freedom of choice.
Just what exactly is the government going to do to protect organic standards
and to protect our freedom of choice to avoid these dangerous foods.

In a statement to customers Melodi Nelson of Apache Bio Foods has said;

"Apache Bio Foods supports certified organic farmers in their struggle to keep
their crops and land GMO free. We believe that just as the pioneer organic
farmers recognized that pesticides and chemicals killed the life of the soil
and the health of the people, and found safer, healthier, and better ways of
farming, they will also, find a way of safe guarding their farms and crops
against GMOs. Apache Bio Foods will continue to do everything we can to
support
that effort".

In their product recall notice DO-IT of the Netherlands note the following;

The GMO-material is obviously present in the yellow corn. We have started an
investigation to find out how this could happen. The corn is of course
grown at
known, reliable, organic farmers which are certified by O.G.B.A (Organic
Growers and Buyers Association).

In his notice to customers George Carroll the Managing Director at De Rit
(U.K.) Ltd concluded;

To finish on a happier note, we have also Gene Scanned our range of honey and
all are free of any trace of GMO material. This is all part of our commitment
to provide all information as and when it becomes available, whether good or
bad. In this way we hope to safe guard the integrity of our trade.

Update - A Wholefood Trade delegation will be attending 10 Downing street next
week to put their case for a moratorium on genetically modified foods directly
to Mr Blair, or at least to his front door.
Date - Wednesday 10th February - Time 10.30 am - Photograph opportunities
available.

For further details contact;
Campaign Co-ordinator - Lindsay Keenan on 0141 946 2275

Information Officer - Rosie Kane on 0141 424 3803

For general information on genetic foods contact:
The Soil Association
Harry Hadaway
Ph: 0117 914 2449
Fx: 0117 925 2504
Friends of the Earth
Adrian Bebb and Pete Riley
Ph: 0113 242 8153
Fx: 0113 242 8154
Greenpeace UK
Jim Thomas
Ph: 0171 865 8100
Fx: 0171 865 8203
Good Websites on Genetic Engineering

Pure Food Campaign <http://www.purefood.org
Friends of the Earth - <http://www.foe.co.ukgenetic/www.foe.co.uk
Genetic Engineering Network - <http://www.dmac.co.uk/gen.html
www.dmac.co.uk/gen.html -Genetix Updates, press releases


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