3-Food: Kraft targeted in anti-biotech food campaign
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TITLE: Kraft targeted in anti-biotech food campaign
SOURCE: Reuters, by Deborah Cohen
DATE: February 8, 2002
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
Kraft targeted in anti-biotech food campaign
CHICAGO - A coalition of green health-policy groups this week called on
Kraft Foods Inc., the largest North American food maker, to remove
genetically altered ingredients from several of its popular products,
including Tombstone pizzas and Stove Top stuffing.
The Washington-based coalition, called Genetically Engineered Food Alert,
said an independent laboratory had tested several Kraft products and found
they contained genetically altered corn or soybeans. The U.S. government
has approved the use of the ingredients, but the coalition said they have
not been adequately tested to determine their safety. GE Food Alert is the
same group whose findings in 2000 led to the recall of Kraft taco shells
containing StarLink, a gene-spliced corn not approved for human
consumption. The organization is also calling for mandatory labeling of
foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, which the
government does not currently require.
Biotech foods have come under increased scrutiny by critics, particularly
in light of recent global health concerns sparked by mad cow disease and
foot-and-mouth disease. Kraft, citing approval from a wide range of
regulatory bodies, says its products are safe. "There is a strong global
consensus among government, scientific and medical experts about the safety
of biotech foods," said Kraft spokesman Michael Mudd. "We have strong
confidence in the process by which that consensus was reached." Kraft
shares were 8 cents lower at $37.02 in Wednesday afternoon trading on the
New York Stock Exchange.
POPULAR PRODUCTS HAVE GMOS
Testing positive for gene-spliced corn were Kraft's Taco Bell taco shells,
Lunchables lunch kits, Tombstone pizzas, Post Blueberry Morning cereal,
Stove Top stuffing and the french onion variety of SnackWell's brand
crackers, a GE Alert representative said at a news conference in Chicago.
Kraft's Boca Burger brand vegetarian burgers were found to include GMO soy.
"It's time for Kraft to finally make public health a priority," said Kate
Madigan of the Illinois chapter of State Public Interest Research Groups,
which is a founding member of GE Food Alert. "We are calling on Kraft to
remove genetically engineered ingredients from these and all of their
GE Food Alert, whose other founding members include the Center for Food
Safety, Friends of the Earth and the Institute for Agricultural and Trade
Policy, said it had garnered help from partner organizations and local
health advocates in 170 cities around the country to help launch its
campaign against Kraft this week.
In September 2000, GE Food Alert disclosed research that led to a national
recall of Kraft's Taco Bell taco shells that had been manufactured with
StarLink corn, a genetically altered variety made by Aventis SA. The
research led to a government investigation. The group has pressured other
food makers, including Campbell Soup Co., to stop using GMO ingredients.
Campbell maintains its foods are safe.
"We have always encouraged development in food science and technology that
would improve the safety, quality, availability and wholesomeness of food
and food ingredients," said John Faulkner, a spokesman for Camden, New
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