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genetically engineered food
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October 26, 2002

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TARGETS SUPERMARKETS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA

Hundreds of supermarkets are told "GE foods are a trick - not a treat." San Francisco - A national campaign to rid grocery stores of genetically engineered (GE) foods culminated today when hundreds of people throughout North America joined the GE-Free Markets Coalition to protest against supermarkets' use of genetically engineered ingredients in store brand products. Today's events launched a week of action, in which coalition members across the US and Canada will visit over 200 stores. Supermarkets targeted in the campaign include Safeway, Shaw's in New England, Publix, Food Emporium and Food Lion.

The coalition says it will continue to pressure supermarkets around the country until they commit to going "GE-free". "We are calling on these supermarkets to listen to their customers and do the right thing by removing genetically engineered ingredients from their store brand products," said Simon Harris of the Organic Consumers Association, "If Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader can end their use of genetically engineered food, so can other major supermarket chains." Last November, the GE-Free Markets Coalition successfully pressured the supermarket chain Trader Joe's to stop using genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in its store brand products.

In its announcement, Trader Joe's said its policy change was the result of "talking with our customers," and finding that "it is clear . that if given the opportunity, the majority of our customers would prefer to have products made without genetically engineered ingredients." "Recent polls show that upwards of 90 percent of U.S. consumers want mandatory labeling of GE foods so that they can avoid them. Americans clearly don't want to eat genetically engineered foods," said Linda Setchell, Safe Foods Campaign Coordinator of Clean Water Action.

In fact, an ABC News poll showed that barely more than a third of the public believe GE foods are safe. " These supermarkets should listen to their customers and rid their store brands of untested untested genetically engineered food," said Setchell. This week of action is the largest to date in what has become a growing movement over the last 2 years at major supermarkets against GE foods.

Thousands of letters, postcards and phone calls have been sent to the CEO's of these supermarkets since the campaign began. "GE foods are untested and unregulated food experiments," said Heather Whitehead, Supermarket Campaigner at Greenpeace. "Supermarkets must take the experiment off the shelves and put it back into the lab." In New England, many consumers are now signing a "Shaw's Pledge", pledging not to purchase any Shaw's or Star Market store brands until they remove GE ingredients from their product line. Shaw's and Star Market, both owned by GE-free UK company J. Sainsbury, has been skirting the GE issue and their customers concerns for over 2 years.

Earlier this month, a Shaw's customer survey released by coalition member MassPIRG showed 68% of Shaw's shoppers want GE foods either labeled or removed from their store brands. For more information go to: www.gefreemarkets.org CONTACT: Alisa Arnett, Greenpeace Media (415) 407-9293 mobile; for local contacts call Heather Whitehead (415) 999- 7404 mobile.

 
 
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