Safeway and Concerned Customers Disagree About
These comments were exchanged between a customer
concerned about Safeway's GE foods and a Safeway Customer Service
Customer's Initial Comments: I am learning
about Genetically Enginered Food and I am concerned about their effects
on our health, family farms, and enviornment.
I want to see genetically engineered food removed from our supermarket shelves and urge you to take
immediate steps towards this
goal. To renew my confidence in your stores you could
start by making all the products
bearing the safeway label free of genetically
enginered 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 in your
stores. I use to be a Safeway shopper and based on my
knowledge now 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.
Safeway Customer Service Representative's
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 food they 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 properly lies 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 animal
breeding and fermentation, which are based on the use of whole
living organisms. 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 food we offer for sale. It is consumer demand that determines the products
we carry. We rely on academic and regulatory agencies
to determine which products
and processes are safe. The
USDA and the FDA require regulatory
review of all food developed by biotechnology. Consumer
safety is the paramount consideration of all their efforts
in this area. If
you have not expressed your views to the FDA, we encourage you to do so.
If you have any additional concerns
or questions please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or contact our customer service center
at 1-877-723-3929 and one of our associates will be happy to
assist you. When you
call or write, please use reference number
XXXXX so that we can access your account.
Thank you for continuing to shop
at Safeway .
Sherry Mariscal Customer Service
Customer's Final Response:
Dr. Ms. Mariscal
I was surprised by your response. You must think that I am not a logical human being and therefore you can send me a
response that does not address my
question and at the same time portrays an untrue image of what Safeway can do to change their stance on GMO foods.
My email was regarding your own "Safeway"
brand and the expansion of non GMO foods
supplied by Safeway. Both of
these items Safeway has complete control
over. 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 free or that you cannot demand your suppliers provide
you with non GMO food.
When supermarkets and food producers in Europe were
first challenged by consumers
to eliminate or label GE foods, the biotech and food industries
responded that doing so would take years and years and would
lead to higher food prices. However,
as consumer pressure mounted, a few companies
These companies, like Iceland Foods (one of the largest
grocers in Britain) and Kraft
Jacobs Suchard (the European branch of Kraft Foods) told suppliers that they would no longer accept GE ingredients
for their products. Soon more and more companies followed
suit, and in less than three years nearly
every major grocer and food producer in Europe had eliminated
GE food -- and even with GE labeling laws in place, food costs
to consumers did not go up at
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 original question regarding Safeway changing their own
"Safeway" brand to non GMO and
not accepting GMO products from your suppliers. I would appreciate a response to my question and not rhetoric regarding
the government and your non involvement
in the food that you supply.
I have stopped shopping at Safeway as have all of my
friends, family and co workers. Each of them have sent emails and discussed
with all of their friends and
associates the issue of Safeway and your unwillingness to change your own brand to non GMO and not accept GMO
foods in your stores. I truly hope that the management of Safeway will change
it stance and take the responsibility
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.