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genetically engineered food
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Safeway and Concerned Customers Disagree About GE

These comments were exchanged between a customer concerned about Safeway's GE foods and a Safeway Customer Service Representative

Customer's Initial Comments: I am learning about Genetically Enginered Food and I am concerned about their effects on our health, family farms, andenviornment.I want to see genetically engineered food removed fromour supermarket shelves and urge you to take immediate steps towardsthis goal.To renew my confidence in your stores you could start bymaking all the products bearing the safeway label free of geneticallyenginered ingredients, as almost all of Europes supermarkets have done.

 I would also appreciate effort to increase the number of products that do not contain genetically enginered foods and are labled as such inyour stores.I use to be a Safeway shopper and based on my knowledgenow I have stopped going to Safeway along with my friends and family.�� Please make the effort to address this issue so that we can start going to Safeway again.

Regards, XXXXX

Safeway Customer Service Representative's Reply:

Dear Ms. XXXXX:

 We received your e-mail voicing concerns with the selling of genetically modified foods. We actively support our customers' interests in food safety. We also believe consumers have a right to relevant information about the foodthey buy, so they can make informed purchasing decisions. However, as a retailer, we are neither qualified nor entitled to determine food regulations and labeling requirements. That responsibility properlylies with the governmental agencies established for those purposes.

 As you may know, biotechnology is an umbrella term covering a vast variety of processes for using living organisms (such as plants,animals and microbes) or any part of these organisms to create new or improved products.Understandably, the goal of biotechnology is to provide a less expensive and more nutritious food supply. Biotechnology is often divided into old and new varieties.The older forms include plant and animalbreeding and fermentation, which are based on the use of whole livingorganisms.The newer biotechnology's use parts of living organisms,manipulating the chromosomes or DNA strands, or the genetic sequences that control specific traits, which is where the term genetic modification term comes into play.

 Please realize that as a retailer, we have no influence over the methods used by product manufacturers and growers to produce the foodwe offer for sale.It is consumer demand that determines the productswe carry.We rely on academic and regulatory agencies to determinewhich products and processes are safe.The USDA and the FDA requireregulatory review of all food developed by biotechnology. Consumersafety is the paramount consideration of all their efforts in thisarea.If you have not expressed your views to the FDA, we encourageyou to do so.

 If you have any additional concerns or questions please feel free to e-mail us at, or contact our customer servicecenter at 1-877-723-3929 and one of our associates will be happy toassist you.When you call or write, please use reference numberXXXXX so that we can access your account.

 Thank you for continuing to shop at Safeway .


 Sherry Mariscal Customer Service Representative


Customer's Final Response:

Dr. Ms. Mariscal

I was surprised by your response.You must think that I am not a logicalhuman being and therefore you can send me a response that does not addressmy question and at the same time portrays an untrue image of what Safewaycan do to change their stance on GMO foods.

My email was regarding your own "Safeway" brand and the expansion of non GMOfoods supplied by Safeway.Both of these items Safeway has complete controlover.It is your choice what you put on your shelves, not the governments.�� All Safeway has to do is say - "We won't accept GMO foods in our stores".�� It is blatantly untrue that you cannot change your own brand to be GMO freeor that you cannot demand your suppliers provide you with non GMO food.

When supermarkets and food producers in Europe were first challenged byconsumers to eliminate or label GE foods, the biotech and food industriesresponded that doing so would take years and years and would lead to higherfood prices. However, as consumer pressure mounted, a few companiesresponded.

These companies, like Iceland Foods (one of the largest grocers in Britain)and Kraft Jacobs Suchard (the European branch of Kraft Foods) told suppliersthat they would no longer accept GE ingredients for their products. Soon more and more companies followed suit, and in less than three years nearlyevery major grocer and food producer in Europe had eliminated GE food -- andeven with GE labeling laws in place, food costs to consumers did not go upat all.

I have forwarded your email response on to Mr. Steven A. Burd, CEO, Safeway,Inc. for a response and will look for a response by you to my originalquestion regarding Safeway changing their own "Safeway" brand to non GMO andnot accepting GMO products from your suppliers.I would appreciate aresponse to my question and not rhetoric regarding the government and yournon involvement in the food that you supply.

I have stopped shopping at Safeway as have all of my friends, family and coworkers.Each of them have sent emails and discussed with all of theirfriends and associates the issue of Safeway and your unwillingness to changeyour own brand to non GMO and not accept GMO foods in your stores.I trulyhope that the management of Safeway will change it stance and take theresponsibility that is yours of ensuring the quality of the food that is sold in your stores.Until that time we will not be shopping at Safeway.



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