GENET archive


3-Food: Canadian pasta maker goes GE-free

----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  Pasta maker swears off GM foods - for now
        Consumers make final decision, Borden says
SOURCE: Toronto Star, Canada, by Stuart Laidlaw
DATE:   February 22, 2000

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Pasta maker swears off GM foods - for now
Consumers make final decision, Borden says

While the maker of three popular brands of pasta and sauces says its 
products don't contain genetically modified foods, it isn't making 
promises that things will stay that way. But that could change. 
Borden Foods spokesperson Lynn Anderson said the company has been 
studying the issue for the past several months and is monitoring 
suppliers to make sure it can get non-GM ingredients if it decides to 
shun such foods in the future.

"It's an issue we are trying to understand," she said in a telephone 
interview from the company's head office in Columbus, Ohio. "We 
haven't come up with a position, as yet, other than we're not doing 
anything different."

Borden, makers of the Catelli, Lancia and Classico lines of products, 
has been assured by its suppliers that its ingredients have not been 
genetically modified, and its own testing has confirmed this. And 
while Borden has made no deliberate effort to buy non-GM foods, so 
far, it has been investigating other sources of ingredients for 
several months in case consumer demands push them to make such an 
effort, Anderson said.

'Everyone's at the gate ready to go, but afraid to be first'

"We're looking at what the industry is doing. We're looking at what's 
available from suppliers, and we're trying to understand what kind of 
impact it would have on our products if we made any decision to 
change our ingredients."

Michael Khoo of Greenpeace said that while he's encouraged to see 
companies trying to figure out how to stop using genetically modified 
ingredients, he would like to see more actually decide to go ahead. 
"Everyone's at the gate ready to go, but afraid to be the first," he 

A few companies in North America, however, have decided to no longer 
use genetically modified ingredients, citing consumer concerns. The 
first was Gerber, followed by McCain Foods and Frito Lay. As well, 
Seagram is no longer accepting genetically modified corn, and Loblaws 
is weeks away from being the first North American supermarket chain 
to specifically sell non-GM foods. Several European food companies 
and supermarkets have sworn off selling anything made with GM foods.

At Borden, Anderson said the company has some breathing room on the 
issue because wheat, the main ingredient in pasta, won't be available 
in genetically modified varieties for another two or three years. 
"Hopefully by that time, we will understand better whether consumers 
feel it is okay for growers and manufacturers to pursue or whether 
further testing will be done," she said. "It's an evolving issue." 
Currently, only minor ingredients, such as soy oil, are available in 
genetically modified varieties. 


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