Two US Natural Food Supermarket Chains
Announce They Are Going "GE Free"

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 12:55:15 -0500

Whole Foods, Wild Oats Chains to Ban Gene-Altered Ingredients

12/30/99 12:40 (New York)

Austin, Texas, Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Whole Foods Market Inc. and Wild Oats
Markets Inc., the two largest natural-food store chains in the U.S., plan
to ban genetically modified ingredients from their hundreds of
private-label products.

The two grocers would be the largest U.S. food retailers to ban genetically
modified ingredients. The Austin-based Whole Foods operates 103 stores in
22 states and Washington, D.C., and has more than 600 products carrying its
brand name. Boulder, Colorado-based Wild Oats operates 110 stores in 22
states and British Columbia. It has about 700 products under its own brand.

The move follows similar bans by major European supermarket chains,
reacting to consumer concerns over the foods' safety. Though the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration has deemed genetically modified foods to be safe
and essentially no different than conventionally grown foods, the grocers'
decision could influence public opinion, an analyst said.

``You're seeing more and more examples of this,'' said Frank Mitsch, an
analyst with Deutsche Banc Alex Brown who rates DuPont a ``market
perform.'' ``I would not be surprised to see labeling at some point.''

Concerns about Monsanto's agriculture business have contributed to a 25
percent decline in the price of its shares this year.

Brett Chase in Chicago (312) 692-3728 /mfr/tab