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3-Food: Nestle and Unilever react only in UK



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TITLE:  Nestle and Unilever react only in UK
SOURCE: Nestle / Unilever press release
DATE:   May 4, 1999

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European food giants Nestle and Unilever remain committed to using genetically-modified (GM) ingredients in the foods they make despite a decision to cease relying on them in foods for the British market. Francois Xavier-Perroud, spokesman for Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland, said the group was "convinced" of the possible benefits for foodstuffs from genetic engineering. Consequently, Nestle would continue to use GM ingredients in foods produced for other European markets and the US, Xavier-Perroud said. In Rotterdam, Netherlands, a spokesman for Unilever, who asked not to be named, said the decision to scrap GM ingredients in foods for the British market was a "reaction" to negative public perception. "There were never any safety concerns about the foods," he said. "But we're market-driven, and if the (British) public no longer likes foods with GM ingredients, we are obliged to get rid of them." 

Like Nestle, the spokesman said Unilever regards genetic engineering of foodstuffs as a "promising technology," and that as a result, it would continue to use GM ingredients in foods for markets other than Great Britain.  Unilever also has observed no fears about GM ingredients in its other European markets, he added. Last week, Nestle and Unilever's British units decided to scrap the use of GM ingredients in the foods they make due to public opposition to them.  But the companies expressed the hope that the halt would be temporary, adding that they would do all they could to build confidence in foods with GM ingredients among the British public. 

Contact: 
Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland 
Tel: +41 21 924 2596 
Unilever in Rotterdam, Netherlands 
Tel: +31 10 217 4844 


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