Group demands labeling of gene-altered products
Boycott of manufacturers threatened
October 8, 1996
Web posted at: 5:20 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Genetically engineered foods should be
labeled as such, even when they're ingredients in other food
products, a consumer group says.
The Foundation on Economic Trends has called for an
international boycott against products containing genetically
corn and soybeans unless the product manufacturers include
clear labeling on their goods.
"These new genetically engineered food crops are the first
wave of a generation of 'Brave New World' foods that are going
to have serious health and environmental repercussions," said
the Foundation's Jeremy Rifkin.
Soybeans and corn are ingredients in thousands of food
products on supermarket shelves, including soft drinks,
corn chips, baby formula and cereal.
The bio-corn was developed to be resistant to a certain
insect, while the soybeans were modified to give farmers
better weed control.
But the consumer groups say some people may be allergic to
these foods, and the head of a European trade group says
many supermarkets in the continent don't want food products
made with genetically engineered ingredients unless they're
"We are defenseless, and this is something we do not want to
accept," said Henrik Kroner of Eurocommerce.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the crops are
indistinguishable from other varieties, and that there is no
reason to suspect that they are unsafe.
That view was echoed by food product manufacturers and a
group that represents many of the largest brand name foods.
"We believe they are safe and the majority of consumers want
these kinds of products that have environmental benefits such
as the ability to use less pesticides," said Stephen Ziller
of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.
The companies say that labeling products that contain
genetically engineered ingredients would be impractical. But
some consumers say they want the labeling.
Whether there will be an international backlash against
genetically engineered crops is unclear. The European Union
has approved the new soybeans but hasn't yet decided whether
to accept the corn.
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