GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Press Release -- Keeping Genetically Engineered Food Out of the Organic Market



The attached press release and press invitation has been sent
to 200 press agencies.

URGENT:  please note that the time and place of the press
conference have been changed to Friday, March 7, 11:00 am,
Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles Room (lower level)
Los Angeles, U.S.A.

This was changed due to feedback from the press
requesting more notice.

Please forward this press release and invitation
to the your press contacts.


NEWS RELEASE                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Organic Industry Leaders Warn Biotech Industry: KEEP OUT! --
Newly-Formed National Coalition Cites Deep Concerns In Letter
to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman

(MARCH 5) - A newly-formed national coalition of organic food
industry producers, scientists, and consumer activist groups
this week will send a strong message to U.S. Secretary of
Agriculture Dan Glickman and the biotech industry:
"Keep genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) out of the
organic market."

The coalition launches a high profile campaign to ban all
GEOs from the organic market at a time when the biotech industry
is splicing human genes into pigs, fish genes into tomatoes,
and insect, viral, and bacterial DNA into foods on
grocery stores shelves.

The campaign will be launched simultaneously this week
on both coasts in the U.S. and includes:

1. A letter signed by 28 top organizations within the
organic foods industry to Secretary of Agriculture
Dan Glickman, urging the Secretary to uphold the
National Organic Standard Board's (NOSB)
September 1996 resolution to categorically ban
all genetically engineered organisms from the organic
market.

2. A national news conference on Friday, March 7, 11:00 a.m.
at the Anaheim Marriott, Los Angeles Room, during the
Natural Foods Expo in Anaheim, California.
(The Expo will be attended by an estimated 25,000
manufacturers and retailers.)

3. A nationwide drive to collect one million
signatures from consumers who are opposed to GEOs in
the organic market, to be presented during the
International Codex Committee on Food Labeling in
Ottawa, Canada, April 14-18. (This Codex committee
determines the status of international food
labeling laws, including whether genetically
engineered foods must be labeled.)

"Contrary to biotech advertising and the official
USDA position, genetic engineering is not harmless.
It is a radical new technology that poses
serious risks to our health and environment," said
John Fagan, Ph.D., a Cornell-trained molecular biologist
who gained international recognition when he returned $1.5
million in NIH grants because his research could have been
used for harmful genetic engineering applications.
Dr. Fagan is a leader of the new coalition.

"Many scientists believe that the genetic manipulation
of the food supply could set off a chain reaction throughout
the entire ecosystem, upsetting the delicate balance in nature
for generations to come. Unlike chemical or nuclear
contamination, genetic pollution cannot be cleaned up
or contained. The effects of genetic mistakes are
irretrievable and irreversible," Fagan said.

Current FDA policy does not require any long-term
safety testing on genetically engineered foods.

"There have been no human feeding studies done on
genetically engineered foods. And the FDA, by its own
admission, doesn't have a complete record of
information on these foods," said Laura Ticciati,
executive director of the American Campaign to
Ban Genetically Engineered Foods.

"Despite incidents of illness, allergic reactions,
and death, and increasing warnings from scientists and physicians,
these foods are sitting on our grocery store shelves unlabeled.
Right now the only non-genetically engineered food source
available to the consumer is the organic market. But
the integrity of the organic market is
in jeopardy," Ticciati said.

The following organic industry leaders signed the letter
to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, calling for a
ban on genetically engineered food in
the organic market.

John Hagelin, Director
Institute of Science, Technology and
Public Policy

John Ardrey, Michael Potter
Eden Foods Inc.

James A. Riddle, Organic Inspector Independent
Organic Inspectors Association

Fred and Annie Kirschenmann
Farm Verified Organic

Professor Phil Bereano
Washington State Biotechnology Action Council

Doreen Stabinsky, Ph.D.
Council for Responsible Genetics

Richard W. Stewart
Chief Executive Officer
Frontier Cooperative Herbs

Kingsley Brooks, Chairman
Natural Law Party

Theresa Carbrey, Education Director, New Pioneer Co-op

Neil Carman, Ph.D.
Clean Air Program Director
Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club

Ronnie Cummins
Pure Food Campaign

Eileen Danneman
National Coalition of Organized Women

Thomas B. Harding, Jr. President
Organic Crop Improvement Association International

Joan Dye Gussow Emeritus Professor
Teachers College, Columbia University
Just Food, NYC

Jeffrey Hollender
Seventh Generation

Judith Kew, Renu Namjoshi, Lynn Powell, Mary Pritchard
Texas Consumers for Safe Food

Jerry DeWitt, Coordinator
State Sustainable Agriculture
Iowa State University

Steve Druker
Alliance for Biotechnology

John Kinsman, President
Faily Farm Defenders

Rodney Leonard
Community Nutrition Institute

Hildy Nelson
Animal Alliance

John Fagan, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Biology,
Maharishi University of Managment

Laura Ticciati
Executive Director Mothers for Natural Law

David Vetter OCIA
Grain Place Foods, Inc.

Craig Winters Chairman of the Board
Citizens for Health

Charles Walters
N.O.R.M.

Margaret Wittenburg, Pamela Boyar
Whole Foods Market

Susan Futrell
Director of Marketing  and Sales  Blooming Prairie Coop

Judy DeRuvo
Mintaka Mountain Farms, Austin, TX


CONTACT: BOB ROTH, 515-472-2477, 515-469-9372

Press Invitation

Organic Industry Leaders Unite Against
Genetically Engineered Foods during
Natural Foods Expo

- NEWS CONFERENCE in ANAHEIM -
Friday, March 7 * 11:00 AM
Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles Room (Lower Level)

The cloning of a sheep and a monkey has generated
considerable debate in the press and public. However,
a less graphic, but far more controversial and
potentially dangerous development is taking place:
the wholesale manipulation of the world's food supply
by a handful of biotech industries. Only one
market remains free of genetically engineered
organisms-organic foods. But now that market is in
jeopardy. For the first time, a national coalition of
organic food industry leaders, scientists, and
consumer groups have united together to preserve
the safety and purity of the organic market.
Representatives of the coalition are holding
this news conference during the
Natural Foods Expo to explain what
they are doing and why.

Panelists

Michael Potter
President and CEO, Eden Foods
National organic foods manufacturer

Jeffrey Hollender
President and CEO, Seventh Generation
Nation's leading manufacturer of green consumer products

Annie Kirschemann Board of Directors, Farm Verified
Organic Nationwide private organic certifiers

Susan Haeger
Executive Director, Citizens for Health
National grassroots citizens health activist group

Laura Ticciati
Executive Director, American Campaign to Ban Genetically
Engineered Foods Non-profit educational organization
leading a public awareness campaign on
dangers of genetically engineered foods

John Fagan, Ph.D.
Cornell-trained molecular biologist who gained
international recognition when he returned $1.5 million
in NIH grants because his research could have been
used for harmful genetic engineering applications.
Dr. Fagan is the chairman of the Department of
Molecular Biology at Maharishi
University of Management

CONTACT: BOB ROTH, 515-472-2477, 515-469-9372


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