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3-Food: First large US grocery chain banned GE food



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  For Trader Joe's, No GMOs
SOURCE: The Los Angeles Times, USA, by Melinda Fulmer
DATE:   November 15, 2001

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Abstract: Monrovia-based Trader Joe's is not the first large chain to ban 
genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, from its products. Natural foods 
chains Whole Foods Market Inc. of Austin, Texas, and Wild Oats Markets of 
Boulder, Colo., dropped GMOs from their house-brand products two years ago.

Trader Joe's said it had been considering dropping GMOs for some time, 
especially after last year's StarLink corn debacle, when an unapproved 
genetically engineered corn made its way into the food supply. However, St. 
John said, the company wanted to be sure there were adequate guidelines, 
tests and supplies in place before it made an announcement.


Bowing to pressure from its customers, grocery chain Trader Joe's has 
agreed to ban genetically modified ingredients from its thousands of 
private-label products. Monrovia-based Trader Joe's is not the first large 
chain to ban genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, from its products. 
Natural foods chains Whole Foods Market Inc. of Austin, Texas, and Wild 
Oats Markets of Boulder, Colo., dropped GMOs from their house-brand 
products two years ago.

Activist group Greenpeace had been pressuring Trader Joe's to drop GMOs for 
about a year, holding demonstrations outside stores. "What we hear from our 
customers is they would prefer to have [their food] made without 
genetically engineered ingredients," company spokeswoman Pat St. John said.

Trader Joe's said it had been considering dropping GMOs for some time, 
especially after last year's StarLink corn debacle, when an unapproved 
genetically engineered corn made its way into the food supply. However, St. 
John said, the company wanted to be sure there were adequate guidelines, 
tests and supplies in place before it made an announcement. Unlike 
mainstream supermarkets, Trader Joe's private-label products make up about 
70% of its selections on any given day.

The conversion to non-GMO ingredients could take as long as a year, St. 
John said. The company does not plan to use any special labels, at least 
not in the near term. Organic food industry officials say Trader Joe's may 
be reluctant to do this because they are afraid of making a false label 
claim if these products do test positive for at least some amount of GMOs.

Greenpeace activists and the natural foods industry hope this will set a 
precedent for other food retailers. "With Trader Joe's getting rid of gene-
altered ingredients, grocery chains in the U.S. can no longer say, 'We 
can't do it in this country,"' said Heather Whitehead, a Greenpeace 
campaigner. Trader Joe's executives said that because many of their 
products are organic or come from Europe, the transition will be easier 
than for some other companies.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Grocery Chain Trader Joe's Drops Gene-Altered Food
SOURCE: Greenpeace USA, Press Release
        http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/media/press_releases/01_11_14text.htm
DATE:   November 14, 2001

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Grocery Chain Trader Joe's Drops Gene-Altered Food

Shift Away From GE Food Goes Mainstream With Company's Announcement Move 
Follows Year-Long Campaign by Greenpeace and Other Groups

 Los Angeles, CA, November 14, 2001  A year-long campaign to force Trader 
Joe's to drop its use of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in its 
store brand products ended today as the mainstream grocery chain announced 
it would do just that, "effective immediately." According to the company 
statement, "...we will work with any new vendor to produce private label 
products for Trader Joe's without genetically engineered ingredients. Our 
goal for existing private label products is to have all such products 
reformulated, if necessary, and certified within one year." Eighty-five 
percent of the products sold at Trader Joe's stores will be affected by 
this policy change as they carry the company name brand.

The company says the change is the result of "talking with our customers," 
and finding that "it is clear ... that if given the opportunity, the 
majority of our customers would prefer to have products made without 
genetically engineered ingredients."

"This announcement marks the first time a mainstream grocery chain has 
dropped genetically engineered ingredients in response to consumer demand," 
said Heather Whitehead of the Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaign. "By 
responding to its customers, Trader Joe's has set an industry standard and 
has helped put other mainstream retailers on notice."

During an exit strategy discussion with a Greenpeace representative, a 
Trader Joe's spokesperson acknowledged that 90 to 95 percent of customers 
said they wanted the chain to stop using genetically engineered ingredients.

Trader Joe's has almost 200 stores in 15 states located primarily on the 
East and West Coasts. The company sells mainly its own brand products and a 
good selection of organic and natural foods. Its two main competitors are 
Safeway and Whole Foods. Whole Foods has already gone non-GE in its store 
brand products.

"Greenpeace will be looking at other retailers still using genetically 
engineered foods to determine where to apply pressure next," added 
Whitehead. "With Trader Joe's getting rid of gene-altered ingredients, 
grocery chains in the U.S. can no longer say, 'We can't do it in this 
country.'"

Greenpeace, along with several grassroots groups that formed the GE-Free 
Market Coalition, have focused attention on Trader Joe's for the past year. 
The coalition includes GE-Free L.A, Organic Consumers Association, GE-Free 
Marin, NW RAGE, BAN NY, Genetic Engineering Action Network, GeneWise 
(Chicago), and the Boston Safe Foods Campaign. Thousands of consumers 
around the country have participated in the effort by sending faxes, e-
mails and letters to the company, and by protesting outside Trader Joe's 
stores in over 20 cities.


CONTACT:
Craig Culp, Greenpeace, (+1-202) 319-2461, (+1-202) 251-6296 (mobile)
Heather Whitehead (+1-415) 255-9221, ext. 312.



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