Coalition calls for testing, labeling of GE food in USA

WASHINGTON, DC: The Campbell Soup Company is the first target of a new dollars 1 million-plus PR and marketing campaign to stop major US food companies from using genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Campbell Soup Company is the first target of a new dollars 1 million-plus PR and marketing campaign to stop major US food companies from using genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

WASHINGTON, DC: The Campbell Soup Company is the first target of a

new dollars 1 million-plus PR and marketing campaign to stop major US

food companies from using genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.



A coalition of seven environmental and food safety groups launched the

Genetically Engineered Food Alert campaign earlier this month to gain

consumer support for mandatory testing and labeling of GE foods.



’Fifty-seven percent of the public doesn’t know genetically engineered

food is on the market,’ said Philip Clapp, president of coalition member

the National Environmental Trust. ’We want to generate consumer

awareness and force immediate changes.’



To jump-start the campaign, the coalition held events in 20 US cities,

including a protest outside Campbell’s Camden, NJ headquarters. The

first of six major food brands targeted for the next year, Campbell’s

was chosen to alert consumers to the use of GE ingredients in products

considered ’wholesome’ staples. In a statement, Campbell’s said its

products are safe.



The campaign begins only weeks before the September release of the

Clinton administration’s biotechnology guidelines, which are not

expected to require testing of GE products. Fenton Communications will

provide PR support, and the coalition will join Greenpeace’s efforts

against Kellogg’s use of GE foods.



Given that the Council for Biotechnology Information intends to spend

dollars 50 million promoting GE products over the next several years,

the coalition seems to be facing an uphill battle. GE supporters

predicted calls for testing and labeling of GE foods will fall on deaf

ears.



’This is clearly a publicity stunt. They don’t have anything new to

say,’ said BSMG/Washington senior managing director Stephen Kehoe, whose

firm is leading the pro-GE charge.



Nonetheless, the campaign’s launch received coverage in The New York

Times, The Washington Post and other major media outlets. The coalition

intends to use grass-roots efforts to bring down one company at a

time.



Similar efforts in Europe nearly ended the use of GE ingredients - both

Kellogg’s and Campbell’s do not use GE ingredients in their European

products.



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