GENTECH archive 8.96-97
Subject: GEFs: Applying direct consumer pressure to food producers
> by spuddy.mew.co.uk (8.8.5/8.8.5) id BAA03881;
> Thu, 3 Apr 1997 01:05:14 +0100 (BST)
>I was sitting waiting for my toast to pop-up this lunchtime, idly reading
>the margarine tub(!), when I noticed that it had a freephone consumer
>hotline number on it.
>(For those that care, it was Olivio (part of Van den Bergh) 0800 616030)
>So I phoned up to ask them whether there were, or would be, any
>genetically-engineered foodstuffs (GEFs) in my margarine.
>This didn't faze them _quite_ as much as I would have thought (which might
>be a positive sign?), but the helpline person couldn't answer my query so
>her manager phoned me back a few minutes later.
>I quizzed her regarding GE-soya and GE-maize (but forgot to ask about olive
>oil, the main ingredient (duh), but that's still 'safe', isn't it? ;-) and
>she said that there were no GE ingredients at present, and that their
>supplies of natural soya lecithin should last until the end of the year.
>She added that after this, the situation (regarding supplies) was sort of up
>in the air, but that VdB had no objections to biotechnology in foods (so
>this probably means that they will happily accept GEFs in due course..)
>She also said that they had tried to exert pressure on the soya growers for
>segregation last year (did they?) but to no avail.
>I tried to point out that biotechnology isn't necessarily intrinsically
>bad (just my view, ok!), but that when they start adding genes from
>radically different species (such as viruses, etc), that starts to put me
>off my food, as it were! I'm not sure if that point sunk in.
>Anyway, the main point of this article is to wonder if it worthwhile having
>a major "informed consumer" campaign at food producers?
>(I know that GP and RTS in particular have done a lot of work on GEFs so far,
>but I'm getting a little swamped in doom-and-gloom emails and starting to
>feel a little disempowered. What we really need is something relatively
>simple that we can get lots of people to do!)
(sorry but this is rts GE email person butting in- the supermarket actions
that I have been sending out info on seem to be the answer, but of course I
>Obviously, I've just come across the one freephone number so far, but there
>must be hundreds of them out there on different food products.
>I think it would be a good idea for somebody who has more time(!) to devote
>to this issue to collate a list of food producers' freephone numbers (and
>email addresses, if applicable) and post it to the gsn-list, the GEF-list,
>etc, so that people can phone up, make enquiries, make their views known
>and generally try to exert pressure on food producers to avoid buying any
>GEFs at all, or to put pressure on the growers to segregate their
>foodstuffs and continue to sell guaranteed GEF-free products.
>David Marsh. email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) //
>Glasgow/Glaschu *Please phone if urgent message: 0141 636.6084.* \X/
>CYCLEWAY, UK cycle activism index: http://home.ml.org/squelch/cycleway/
> [Actively seeking work: see http://home.ml.org/squelch/]
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