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Title: Genetech free

ANNOUNCEMENT: CONSUMENTENBOND AND GREENPEACE ASK RETAILERS TO PROVIDE GENETECH FREE TRADEMARK

This morning Greenpeace Netherlands and Consumentenbond sent a request to seven Dutch retailers for providing genetech-free products of their own trademarks. Greenpeace and Consumentenbond suggested to join the alliance of retailers which was announced last Wednesday by Sainsbury's. This initiative is drawing massive media attention.

The official position of the Dutch retailers is to comply with the present legislation, which means labelling of foods which contain non-segregated soya protein and maize starch. According to Consumentenbond and Greenpeace this means in practice that only 2% of the foods that contain soya or maize ingredients is labelled, thus not offering real choice to consumers.

In a comment on the Sainsbury's initiative, Albert Heijn (the largest retailer in the Netherlands, covering about 27 % of the national food market) refers to the increasing range of organic products they offer. Organic production is a guarantee for non-use of genetechnology, thus providing a clear choice, they state. However, this is a minor segment (about 1%) in the Dutch food supply.

The recent months Consumentenbond and the National Platform of Organic Producers have discussed standards for genetech-free production extensively with food manufacturers, retailers and competent authorities. As a result, the Dutch authorities will present a proposal for a Genetech-free law (comparative to the German law, but less rigid) to the Parliament. This will ensure the legal conditions for retailers and manufacturers to produce genetech-free foods.

Huib de Vriend
stichting Consument en Biotechnologie
Postbus 1000
2500 BA Den Haag
The Netherlands
phone: +31 70 44 54 498
fax: +31 70 44 54 592