- CHICAGO (ENN) - A coalition
of green health-policy groups Wednesday called on Kraft Foods Inc., the
largest North American food maker, to remove genetically altered
from several of its popular products, including Tombstone pizzas and Stove
- The Washington-based coalition, called Genetically
Food Alert, said an independent laboratory had tested several Kraft
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
(GMOs), which the government does not currently require.
- Biotech foods have come under increased scrutiny by
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
among government, scientific, and medical experts about the safety of
foods," said Kraft spokesman Michael Mudd. "We have strong
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
brand crackers, a GE Alert representative said at a news conference in
Chicago. Kraft's Boca Burger brand vegetarian burgers were found to include
- "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 products."
- GE Food Alert, whose other founding members include the
Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and the Institute for
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 Wednesday.
- 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, N.J.ñbased Campbell.