GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Fwd: 500 tons of GE chocolate recalled in Switzerland

Forwarded message:
From: (Joe Toth)
To: (Ban-GEF)
Date: 97-03-22 00:44:15 EST

Swiss Co. Recalls Chocolate Bars

Friday, March 21, 1997 4:36 pm EST

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- Some 500 tons of Switzerland's best-known
chocolate bar are being recalled after a routine check revealed the presence
illegal genetically altered soybeans.

In a move that will hurt the company in the pre-Easter buying spree,
Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard said Friday it had already started pulling Toblerone
off store shelves.

Authorities in Bern, Switzerland, found traces of genetically altered
in lecithin -- an ingredient in chocolate.

``It's a shock for the company,'' said board president Walter Anderau.

Anderau said the German supplier had assured Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard that the
lecithin was free of bioengineered soybeans.

The 15-nation European Union agreed last spring to allow the sale of gene
modified soybeans, and Switzerland, although not an EU member, followed
suit. Its decision was put on hold in January following a legal challenge
consumer groups.

European environmental and consumer groups have complained that no special
labels are required for gene-modified soybeans, which make up 1 to 2 percent
of this year's U.S. soybean crop. The groups worry that genetically altered
food products could reduce the effectiveness of antibiotic medicines.

Anderau said although the lecithin posed no health risks, the company was
forced to recall the Toblerone bars because they could not be legally sold in

Between 400 and 500 tons of Toblerone produced at the company's Bern plant
were affected, he said.

He said it was too early to assess the financial costs to the company.

Other products, including Easter eggs and bunnies, were not involved in the
recall because they did not contain the lecithin in question, said Anderau.