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Consumers in over 100 Cities Leaflet and Protest Outside Safeway, Shaw's, Publix, Food Lion, Food Emporium and Other Leading Supermarket Chains

 June 8, 2002

Today food activists in over 100 cities across the U.S., including Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, protested in front of leading supermarket chains to voice their concerns about genetically engineered foods. A new nationwide alliance, the GE-Free Markets Coalition, and regional anti-GE food groups organized the National Day of Action as part of a multi-year campaign to get GE foods out of grocery stores. Similar supermarket campaigns in Europe and Japan have forced GE foods off the market. Consumer and environmental groups are demanding that Safeway and other leading supermarket chains remove all GE food ingredients from their store brand products. U.S. supermarket chains Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe's have already responded to consumer pressure by pledging to remove GE ingredients from their store brand products.

"We are here to put all major supermarkets on notice that American consumers do not want to be guinea pigs in this genetic experiment with our food," said Heather Whitehead of Greenpeace. "If Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader Joe's can listen to their customers and remove untested and unwanted GE ingredients, so can these other leading supermarkets."

Activities ranged from in-store actions to handing out flyers to a plane flying over a Publix supermarket in Sarasota, Florida with a banner reading "Publix - Stop Gene-Altered Ingredients!" This national supermarket campaign was launched in March by the member groups of the GE-Free Markets Coalition, including Greenpeace, GE Free LA, the Organic Consumers Association, NW Rage, Clean Water Action and many more. The Coalition says it will continue to pressure the retailers until they remove all GE ingredients from their store brand products.

"These supermarket chains need to decide whose interests they represent- their customers' or the biotech industry's," said Simon Harris of Organic Consumers Association. "The American people have spoken - they don't want to eat GE foods." Two recent national polls have shown that upwards of 90 percent of U.S. consumers want GE foods labeled so that they can avoid them.

The coalition successfully targeted national retailer Trader Joe's last year. In November of 2001, after more than a year of pressure, Trader Joe's announced it would begin immediately to source only non-GE ingredients for all its store brand products. Trader Joe's has stores in 13 states and derives 85 percent of its profits from its store brands.

CONTACT: Heather Whitehead, Greenpeace, (415) 999-7404 mobile; Simon Harris, Organic Consumers Association (510) 435- 8412 mobile.

The GE-Free Markets Coalition is a work group of the Genetic Engineering Action Network. The Coalition members include: Clean Water Action Greenpeace The Organic Consumers Association NW R.A.G.E. (North West Resistance Against Genetic Engineering) Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project GE Free LA MASSPIRG Free the Planet! Florida Alliance for Safe Foods Pure Food Partners SOS Food NY State Greens Bay Rage People's Voluntary Labeling Brigade Sarasota County Green Party GeneWise


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