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France's Largest Supermarket Chain Bans Genetically Engineered Foods
For Immediate Release
February 5th 1999

4) FRANCE'S LARGEST SUPERMARKET LAYS DOWN THE GAUNTLET ON GENE FOODS

Greenpeace today welcomed the decision by Carrefour, France's largest
supermarket, with outlets world-wide (1), to take gene foods off its
shelves.

In a move set to shake the industry in the UK and Europe, Carrefour
said: "Experts world-wide are divided on the risks posed by the spread
and release of GMO's for both consumer health and the environment.
Many questions are still unanswered...For the first time man is
crossing barriers between species. It seems impossible to us, at the
present level of knowledge, to be able to measure the long term
consequences. The lack of transparency which surrounds GMOs is
contrary to our principle of traceability."

So far, in the UK, only Iceland Frozen Foods has imposed a total ban
on genetic ingredients in its own brand products. Carrefour's decision
proves that it is possible for other major players in the food
industry to supply GE free food to their customers.

Greenpeace campaign director, John Sauven, said: "People in France can
now shop without concern that they are eating gene food. It's time we,
as consumers, were given such a choice. Our supermarkets are ignoring
consumer demand to take this unnatural food off our shelves. Instead,
they are listening to a Government that is trying to force gene food
down our throats. The industry's initial assertion that it is
impossible to supply consumers with gene free food is being proved
wrong again and again. Like Carrefour, they should listen to their
customers and ban gene foods from their shelves."

Of the 1,783 products carrying the Carrefour label, 516 of them
contain genetically engineered ingredients. Carrefour has substituted
ingredients that are not genetically engineered in 286 of these
products by replacing GE soya oil with sunflower oil and glucose from
GE maize with glucose from sugar. In the 221 of its products where
substitution was not possible, Carrefour is offering a guarantee of
origin or traceability of the ingredients and has demanded that its
suppliers prove they are uncontaminated with GMOs. Nine of the
supermarket's lines have been discontinued as it proved impossible to
guarantee their GE free status.

As the Monsanto research, leaked to Greenpeace, stated: "Their main
focus at the moment (retailers) is on consumer acceptance, since they
are in the process of introducing these products, and the lack of
governmental leadership. As one retailer put it, 'Everyone is
conscious of acceptance by the consumer as being the key factor'".

The research revealed that some retailers thought "there was a
fifty-fifty chance of losing to the pressure groups. It could turn out
like irradiation. Which is, you don't do it."
ENDS
Notes to Editors:
(1) Source: Eurodata
For further information please contact the Greenpeace press office on
0171 865 8255/6/7/8

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