Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)
International Campaign Targets Kraft Foods
On February 6, 2002, thousands of consumer and food safety activists in over 170 cities across the United States, Canada and Australia launched a campaign calling for Kraft Foods to remove genetically engineered (GE) ingredients from its products. Kraft Foods, a subsidiary of Philip Morris company, is the largest food and beverage company in the United States. The activists also called for safety testing and labeling of all foods.
The Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition — including one of its members, Pesticide Action Network — demonstrated and handed out leaflets at a Safeway grocery store to draw attention to the public health and environmental concerns associated with GE food, and to inform consumers that Kraft Food’s GE products are neither adequately safety tested nor labeled.
Independent testing released by the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition confirms the use of GE ingredients, including engineered corn and soy, in Kraft products. The tests commissioned by the coalition determined that a variety of Kraft products including Taco Bell taco shells, Boca Burgers, Snackwell’s crackers, Lunchables, Tombstone Pizzas, Post Blueberry Morning Cereal and Stove Top Stuffing contained GE ingredients.
This is not the first time that the company has dealt with controversy over their use of genetically engineered ingredients in their products. Consumer demand in Europe has forced Kraft Foods to provide products that are free of genetically engineered ingredients. The company has yet to offer such alternatives in the United States.
In September 2000, through independent testing, the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition discovered StarLink™ — a genetically engineered corn not approved for human consumption because of concerns that it has characteristics of known allergens — in Taco Bell brand taco shells, a Kraft product. Kraft recalled millions of boxes of taco shells and switched to white corn to avoid further StarLink™ contamination.
Consumer and environmental advocates representing Genetically Engineered Food Alert have requested a meeting with Kraft CEO Betsy Holden to discuss environmental and public health issues related to the use of genetically engineered ingredients in their products, but the request thus far has been denied.
Communications by Genetic Engineering Food Alert to Kraft Foods as well as test results may be found at the coalition Web site, http://www.gefoodalert.org.
Kraft contact information:
Genetically Engineered Food Alert founding members include: Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Environmental Trust, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America and the State Public Interest Research Groups.
Source/contact: Genetically Engineered Food Alert, 1025 Vermont Ave, NW; Washington DC 20005; phone (877) 843-8687; fax (202) 783-0444; email firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site http://www.gefoodalert.org.
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