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3-Food: Kraft urged by U.S. groups to abandon GE food



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

TITLE:  Report Finds Genetically Engineered Foods A 'Risky Business'
        For Kraft
SOURCE: Public Interest Research Groups , USA, Press Release
        http://pirg.org/ge/GE.asp?id2=9678&id3=ge&
DATE:   Apr 17, 2003

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Report Finds Genetically Engineered Foods A 'Risky Business' For Kraft
(KFT): Genetically Engineered Foods Pose Unnecessary Financial Risks To Kraft
Foods, Inc. And Other Food Companies

Kraft Food's (KFT - NYSE) continued use of genetically engineered foods pose
unnecessary financial risk to the company and its investors, according a new
report entitled, Risky Business: Financial Risks that Genetically Engineered
Foods Pose to Kraft Foods, Inc. and Shareholders.

The report reveals that Kraft's use of genetically engineered ingredients
poses risk of product recalls and liability lawsuits, especially with the
possibility that biopharm crops - food crops genetically engineered to produce
prescription drugs or industrial chemicals - could contaminate Kraft's products.
Other financial risks include loss of competitive advantage, consumer
rejection of Kraft's products, and damage to reputation resulting from increased
controversy surrounding these foods.

The report also makes the case that genetically engineered foods do not
offer financial benefits to Kraft or marketable benefits to consumers.
Genetically engineered crops may even cost more to produce than non-genetically
engineered counterparts.

"Continued use of genetically engineered ingredients is a no-win situation
for Kraft and shareholders," stated Kate Madigan, advocate for the state
Public Interest Research Groups and author of the report. "Kraft is gambling with
controversial ingredients when there is nothing to gain from doing so." The
financial risks of genetically engineered foods became evident with the
StarLink contamination of the food supply in 2000, which is estimated to have cost
the food industry billions of dollars. StarLink is a variety of genetically
engineered corn that was not approved for human consumption because of
concerns that it might trigger allergic reactions. StarLink was first discovered in
Kraft's Taco Bell brand taco shells and Kraft's brand name has been linked
with genetically engineered foods ever since.

"Kraft derives no financial or nutritional benefit from using genetically
engineered foods, there is no consumer demand for these products and the
massive recall of Kraft products has already proven them to be a liability," stated
Michael Passoff of As You Sow Foundation. "Kraft shareholders have a right
to know about the risks their investments exposed to, especially if these
risks can be avoided." In response to these financial risks and to the growing
consumer demand for non-genetically engineered foods, many U.S. food companies
have already removed genetically engineered ingredients from their products,
including Frito-Lay, Gerber, McDonald's, and supermarket chain Trader Joe's.
These manufacturers reported no financial difficulties resulting from the
switch and sales increased in most cases as a result.

"Kraft has already removed genetically engineered ingredients from its
products in Europe," stated Rebecca O'Malley, program director for ecopledge.com,
an organization that organizes students, consumers, and investors to
influence corporate social and environmental responsibility. "These financial risks
can be avoided and Kraft knows how to avoid them. The company needs to finish
the job and remove these ingredients from the rest of its products."
According to the report, current FDA regulations do not shield Kraft from liability
lawsuits and other financial risks posed by genetically engineered foods.


Contact:
Kate Madigan, State PIRGs, +1-213-251-3680 x315 

More contacts:
Michael Passoff, As You Sow, +1-415-391-3212
Rebecca O'Malley, ecopledge.com, +1-213-251-3680 x302
Kimberly Larson, State PIRGs, +1-206-568-2850


To view the report visit www.pirg.org/ge.

The state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are a nationwide network
of non-profit public interest advocacy groups.

As You Sow is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting corporate
social responsibility and shareholder advocacy.

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

TITLE:  ACTOR ASKS KRAFT TO TAKE BIOTECH OUT OF ITS U.S.
        FOOD
SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times, USA, by Sandra Guy
        edited and sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   Apr 23, 2003

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ACTOR ASKS KRAFT TO TAKE BIOTECH OUT OF ITS U.S. FOOD

Chevy Chase, the actor known for the "National Lampoon" movies, was cited as
asking Kraft Foods executives at Kraft's annual shareholders' meeting in
East Hanover, N.J. Tuesday to remove genetically engineered ingredients from the
food it sells in the United States, and warned of the risks to the food
supply of crops grown to produce pharmaceuticals, adding, "I don't want my family
to accidentally ingest a pig vaccine when they eat an Oreo, or inadvertently
eat a blood clotter (medication) when they pour a bowl of Alpha-Bits." Chase
said that his wife, Jayni, who expressed her concerns as a mother of three
daughters, is active in the organic foods movement. The story says that
because of consumer outcry outside the United States, Kraft prohibits genetically
altered ingredients in the products it sells in Europe. Kraft Foods' Chairman
Louis Camilleri, who is also CEO of Kraft's parent company, Altria Group
(formerly called Philip Morris Cos.), was cited as saying federal regulators have
approved biotech ingredients for use in food, and that biotech products can
have nutritional and environmental benefits. Camilleri agreed with Chase on
the importance of segregating so-called biopharm crops from the regular food
supply. Kraft Co-CEO Betsy Holden, who heads Northfield-based Kraft Foods,
recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose stricter rules to
ensure that biopharm crops don't commingle with the food supply. Holden shares
the title with Co-CEO Roger Deromedi, who is in charge of Kraft's operations
outside North America.



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