NEWS FROM THE AMERICAN CORN
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Goldberg, 918-488-1829
PERSONAL VISITS WITH EUROPEAN CONSUMERS SHOW
CONTINUED RESISTENCE TO GMOS
ACGA Representative In Europe to Deliver Major Policy Address On
Genetically Modified Crops Takes Time to Visit With Consumers
WASHINGTON, DC….August 31, 2000---Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) presented a major policy paper at an international conference on biotechnology in Copenhagen last week. The paper, "Genetically Modified Crops and the American Agricultural Producer: A Farmer Perspective," was presented at the 2nd Annual EurSafe 2000 Conference attended by over 200 academic, government, biotechnology and agricultural representatives from 22 countries. While visiting with many of these experts from around Europe and after spending additional time in the United Kingdom talking to consumers, it is clear that European resistance to genetically modified (GMO) food products will continue for many years to come.
"Gauging the feelings of these experts on the issue of GMOs and talking to consumers and food distributors in the U.K., it is clear that American farmers cannot count on the European community reversing their strong opposition to GMO food products and GMO corn shipments from the United States," said Goldberg. "If American farmers believe that opposition to GMOs will quickly fade away or disappear, they are mistaken."
Besides visiting with participants at the EurSafe 2000 Conference, Goldberg visited with consumers at Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Marks & Spencer Department stores. These three stores sell a large quantity of grocery food items.
A sizeable majority of British consumers have rejected GMO food products and are demanding that their favorite stores sell only non-GMO products. They feel the products have the potential to cause health and environmental problems and are demanding further testing of these products.
It is clear that no matter what American farmers think about GMOs, their European customers have rejected these products. If we want to regain this important and vital
market for U.S. commodities, we will have to segregate our crops and sell them only non-GMOs," added Goldberg.
While many U.S. farmers have embraced GMO technology, they remain conscious of the importance of giving the consumer whatever products they desire. The lack of foreign marketability and the regulations of segregation and labeling required by European and Asian grain buyers, is the major reason for a 20.4% reduction in GMO planted acres in 2000 compared to 1999.
"It is important that American farmers leave the scientific, health and environmental debate to the experts. The loss of export markets and the growing domestic customer resistance to GMO food products is an economic issue that must be recognized. European rejection of GMOs will continue for the foreseeable future," concluded Goldberg.