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Grandmothers Arrested During
Supermarket Week of Action

Grandmoms arrested at supermarket

Decatur Daily (AL)
By Scott Parrott

DAILY Staff Writer

Two grandmothers arrested outside a Decatur supermarket said they
planned to collect petition signatures and distribute leaflets for
their cause but never expected to face trespass charges.

Decatur police arrested Gerry Coffey, 62, and Jean Tune, 79, Saturday
in the Kroger parking lot on Beltline Road Southwest after the women
refused to leave the property.

"I thought I was performing a good deed for the public," said Coffey,
of Decatur.

"I didn't realize how serious it was until we were in the back of the
police car and the officer called in and said, 'I'm bringing in two
Caucasian females, one born in 1923.' "

Police charged Coffey and Tune with misdemeanor third-degree
trespassing. They released the women later Saturday on recognizance.

Each woman said it was her first time to be arrested. The two
advocates for natural foods could now face fines.

"I believe in this so strongly that I stifled my inhibitions and did
it," Coffey said of her petitioning.

In an e-mail to Kroger, Coffey identified herself as health educator,
councilor and public relations officer of Mothers and Concerned
Others, and a member of Vegetarian Union of North America and
International Vegetarian Union.

The women said they and three other members of Mothers and Concerned
Others were trying to raise consumer awareness of genetically engineered
and modified foods. These are "Frankenstein foods," according to a press
release to local media.

Many products on most supermarket shelves include genetically
engineered food. The food is modified to increase nutritional quality,
or boost crop yields by making it drought and pest resistant.

Opponents, such as Coffey and Tune, say the food could cause allergic
reactions in humans or pollute the environment by cross-pollinating
with natural varieties.

Coffey and Tune, who identifies herself as an environmentalist, said
they were helping Greenpeace during a national petition drive, the
Supermarket Campaign Week of Action.

They hope to get supermarket chains to remove genetically engineered
ingredients from store-br and products and ultimately the entire
chain. They would also like the federal government to require labeling on such
food products.

"I feel like I grew up in the best of worlds, and my grandchildren are
growing up in the worst of worlds. I'm tired of taxpayers being
totally ignored," said Tune, of Priceville.

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