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Michael Meacher: Science backs consumers' rejection of GM food
Are you listening Tony?

The Independent
19 October 2003

Last week's scientific study into genetically modified crops was a serious setback for those who want this science introduced to Britain. There were five aspects to the Government's testing of GM crops. Four have been complete, and not one has helped to advance the case. The only one still to come, a study into whether GM crops can coexist with organic farming and who is liable if organic farmers are driven out of business, could be the most difficult yet.

The Government has boxed itself into a corner. It set up these trials in order to check whether GM crops had any adverse effects on the network of life (insects, worms, butterflies, etc) in the fields. If they did not - and it was assumed that no significant harm would be found - then the go-ahead could be given to the commercial cultivation of GM crops in the UK.

This strategy is unravelling fast. The independent research work, overseen by the Government's Scientific Steering Committee, looked at three GM crops - oilseed rape, sugar beet and forage maize - and compared the effects of the chemical weedkillers used with those used on the same non-GM crops. It found that in the case of oilseed rape and beet the effects of using broad-spectrum weedkillers (glyphosate or glufosinate ammonium) on GM crops were significantly worse for the environment than the conventional weedkillers used on non-GM crops. It therefore recommended that GM oilseed rape and beet should not be grown in Britain.

In the case of maize, the opposite was found. The main chemical used to kill weeds in non-GM maize was so toxic that it had even nastier effects than the GM maize weedkiller. That chemical is atrazine. But the EU has now decided to ban it. So fresh trials need to be undertaken using an alternative non-GM weedkiller. Until that is done, there is no environmental case for allowing GM maize, let alone GM oilseed rape and beet, to be commercially grown in Britain.

But these weedkiller tests are just one limited dimension for assessing the impact of GM crops on the environment. Other dimensions would involve looking at the effects, for example, on soil residues and bacteria, transgene flows and bird populations. Above all, it would be necessary to test what would happen to the environment if farmers were trying to maximise commercial yields and not, as in these trials, to limit adverse effects on wildlife.

But even that is only a small part of the research that is needed. There are at least three other areas of uncertainty. The most important is whether there are any long-term adverse effects of eating GM foods on human health, specifically on the immune or reproductive systems, organ development, metabolism and gut flora. Astonishingly, this has never been systematically investigated, either in North America or in the EU. On the highly dubious so-called principle of "substantial equivalence" it has been assumed that a GM product is safe if it is broadly similar to its non-GM counterpart. In the very rare cases where research has been carried out on animals or humans of the effects of eating GM foods, the results have been worryingly negative.

Another area where answers are needed is how non-GM crops can be protected from cross-contamination. This issue, known as the problem of co-existence, can be solved only either by substantially extending the very short separation distances between GM and non-GM crops or by setting up GM-free exclusion zones. On a very windy day GM pollen can blow very considerable distances, sometimes miles, and bees are also known to transport pollen up to several miles. The EU Commission considered this problem, washed its hands of it as being insoluble, and passed the buck to member states. It would be irresponsible for any member state to allow commercial growing of GM crops before a framework has been spelt out which would guarantee to protect other farmers and provide compensation if their livelihood were damaged or destroyed by GM contamination.

A third area which needs to be resolved is labelling. Even when the new EU rules on labelling are introduced, they will only operate above a 0.9 per cent threshold.

Where does this all leave us? Most of the testing needed has never been done, and where some has been - in the case of the environment - that highly restricted element has been wholly negative. So not only does the GM case fail the test of public acceptability, it also fails the scientific test.

That should settle the matter. If the public and the science are against, who is for? Only, it seems (unless they have changed their minds), the Prime Minister, ministers on the relevant cabinet sub-committee, Defra officials, and the Government's chief scientific advisers. But we are told the Government is listening. We await evidence that it has heard.


This Should Be the End for GM

by Zac Goldsmith
the Observer/UK
October 19, 2003

The Government asked us to heed the science on genetic modification. Will it now take its own advice?

The GM industry must have been scratching its head on Thursday morning following news that yet another of its key claims had been spectacularly demolished. Far from benefiting the environment, as Monsanto spent millions of pounds telling us it would, we now know that genetically modified crops are bad for diversity. That at least is the conclusion of the Government's long-awaited field trials.

There was a glimmer of hope for the industry when it was announced that one of the crops tested, GM maize, was better for the environment than conventional maize - largely because the latter is grown in conjunction with a highly toxic chemical, Atrazine. But hope evaporated when it emerged that the European Union banned the offending chemical last week, rendering the comparison invalid.

The field test results are only the latest in a series of blows to the industry. The Government's 'public consultation', 'economic review' and 'scientific review', all conducted earlier this year, revealed near unanimous public hostility, little economic advantage, and serious question marks over health and safety of GM crops.

In fact, it is fair to say that virtually every bullet in the industry's gun has been shown to be a dud - not by the green lobby, but by the research of a pro-GM government.

So what now for the industry? Clearly it is not going to engage in self-flagellation. Instead, it has chosen to point to America where GM crops have been 'successfully' grown for years. But have they?

One of the things we are forever being promised by the industry is that GM crops reduce the need for chemicals in agriculture. In theory, that is hard to believe, given that most GM crops have been engineered for resistance to chemicals so they can withstand liberal applications. In practice, the situation in North America has been much worse, with unintended breeding between different GM varieties leading to 'super-weeds' so virulent that powerful chemicals are needed to tackle them. One Canadian government study found super-weeds at every site it examined.

But what of the industry's other claims? Does GM deliver higher yields and profits? The answer is an unambiguous 'no'. In short, and despite industry assurances to the contrary, the North American experience has been thoroughly bad: lower profits, higher costs, reduced yields and greater dependence on chemicals in all but a handful of crops. That is why the US and Canadian National Farmer's Unions, the American Corn Growers Association, the Canadian Wheat Board and two hundred other agricultural organizations, many of which were once enthusiastic supporters of GM, have signed a petition calling for a moratorium on the next generation of GM crops, wheat.

The industry has maintained a brave face throughout, choosing either to ignore the facts or to dismiss them as early-stage hiccups. Risk, it advises, is the key to progress. And besides, millions of people have been consuming the stuff for years with no health consequences. GM food, goes the favorite line, is 'at least as safe' as conventional food.

Well, risk is important. But before taking one, we need to weigh it against the benefits. With GM crops, the benefits are questionable. And given that the insurance industry, whose only mandate is to assess risk, refuses to provide cover for GM farmers in Britain, and has publicly compared GM with thalidomide, asbestos and even terrorism, consumers are right to be cautious.

But in any case, how does the industry know GM consumption is safe? Former Environment Minister Michael Meacher has pointed out that the only reason the industry can make such claims is because it has studiously avoided looking for dangers.

Nevertheless fears exist. The British Medical Association and the General Medical Council have said that we do not know enough to be able to vouch for the safety of GM. Other scientists wonder whether GM plants containing genes that produce antibiotics might trigger antibiotic resistance in gut bacteria, a nightmare scenario that the establishment has yet to investigate. In the US, questions are being raised over a possible link between GM soya-based infant formula, which exhibits heightened levels of estrogen, and new figures showing that girls are reaching puberty frighteningly early. Equally, incidences of food-related illness in the US have doubled since GM was first introduced. Could there be a link? We don't know because the regulators haven't bothered to find out.

Recent events have at the very least provided consumers with a welcome respite. Environment Minister Elliot Morley has hinted that the Government will be issuing no licenses to grow GM crops in Britain next year, or indeed for 'some time' to come. I personally am not holding my breath.

Tony Blair takes counsel from a Science Minister who is Labour's biggest donor and a man with financial interests in GM, from a Food Standards Agency that spends more time attacking organic food than examining GM, and from a Royal Society that is awash with vested interest. And his new communications chief is a man who until recently handled Monsanto's public relations. But we have to hope he heeds his own advice. It is essential, he once said, that we 'proceed according to the science'. Over the past few weeks, science has confirmed the worst. The question now is whether or not he chooses to hear that science, or vested interest.

Zac Goldsmith is editor of the Ecologist magazine.


Mixed Message Could Prove Costly for GM Crops

Erik Stokstad and Gretchen Vogel
Science Oct 24 2003: 542-543

Backers of genetically modified (GM) crops were rooting for a knockout. Industry was anxiously awaiting the results of a 3-year experiment on the effects of three modified plants--beets, maize, and oilseed rape--on hundreds of plant and insect species across Great Britain. Supporters hoped that the engineered crops would be a boon to farmers without inflicting more punishment on the environment than do conventional crops. But when the results of the largest-ever GM field trials were unveiled last week, they hardly served to bolster prospects for the technology: Cultivation of beets and oilseed rape clearly had deleterious effects on wildlife and native plants. Only GM maize proved more environmentally friendly than its non-GM counterpart.

The findings could turn out to be a knockout blow, but not the sort that GM enthusiasts were hoping for. U.K. government officials, once discretely bullish on agbiotech, studiously avoided lining up on the wrong side of public opinion, which squarely opposes the commercial planting of GM crops. "I cannot see any European government ignoring these results and their effect on wildlife," Elliot Morley, the environment minister, told The Guardian newspaper last week. At best, the GM row will be much harder to hoe in Europe. "This is going to create more controversy rather than less," says David Andow, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Whatever the political ramifications, scientists are praising the field trials as a premier example of environmental impact assessment. "This is a landmark effort," says ecologist Allison Snow of Ohio State University, Columbus. It "is the most comprehensive study of its kind ever," says Guy Poppy, an ecologist at the University of Southampton, U.K. "We've never had such a wonderful data set."

To help decide whether to recommend that the European Union approve these GM crops for commercial planting, the U.K. government commissioned a series of studies. Two were released earlier this year; a scientific review found little risk to human health (Science, 25 July, p. 447), and an economic analysis indicated that GM crops could ultimately benefit consumers and farmers. A third study, in the works since 1999, investigated how wildlife might be affected by crops modified to resist herbicides.

Nineteen researchers from six agricultural research stations across England, Scotland, and Wales designed a trial comparing three GM crops--the ones closest to approval for commercial planting in the U.K.--with conventional counterparts at more than 200 field sites across Britain. These varieties were modified to resist "broad spectrum" herbicides; that makes farming easier, because herbicides can be sprayed directly on the crops and kill only weeds. Normally, farmers must douse the soil with herbicides before weeds sprout, then spray again with different herbicides that target particular weeds.

But killing weeds inflicts collateral damage on the environment. Wildlife depends on weeds: Some native insects feed on them, butterflies sip their nectar, and birds eat the seeds. Populations of the skylark, corn bunting, and other common birds of the British countryside have declined over the past 30 years. Their woes are blamed in part on ever more intensive agricultural practices that suppress weeds on croplands.

The $8 million "farm-scale evaluations" pitted the three GM crops against conventional counterparts on a range of acreages and growing conditions. On half of each field, farmers grew their crops as usual. On the other half, they planted a GM variety and followed a herbicide regimen recommended by the seed company. The much-anticipated findings were described in eight papers published on 16 October in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

The bottom line is that the GM varieties of beet and oilseed rape are a farmer's boon--but a bane to wildlife. They proved highly successful in allowing farmers to suppress weeds: Plots with GM varieties had one-third or less the weed biomass that plots of regular crops sustained. The GM beet fields had 60% fewer seeds falling from the weeds, the oilseed rape 80% fewer. It's not certain whether that ultimately would mean fewer seeds stored in the soil--the source of the following year's weeds--but the researchers suspect so. There were also fewer bees and other insects that feed upon weeds or their seeds. The margins of GM oilseed rape plots, for example, had 24% fewer butterflies. The genes spliced into the plants for herbicide resistance did not have a direct effect; the variations depended on the herbicides and when the farmers applied them.

Maize was more of a success story for wildlife. The portion of fields planted with GM maize had 82% more weeds than conventional corn. That's because conventional corn fields were sprayed with atrazine, a broadly effective and potent herbicide that is applied before the corn and weeds sprout. The herbicide-tolerant maize allowed farmers to spray both growing corn and weeds with a different, albeit weaker (and more benign), herbicide, leading to more weeds. Insects in the GM fields did better too, presumably because of the larger weed population.

Although limited to three crops, the trials have raised broader questions about land use in Britain. Simply what is grown makes a huge difference to wildlife. Regardless of whether the crops are GM or non-GM, biodiversity in fields growing oilseed rape is significantly higher than that in maize and sugar beet fields. "You could argue that if we want biodiversity, we shouldn't be growing beets and maize at all," says Jeremy Sweet of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, U.K. "Do we want farmland to be primarily for crop production or primarily for biodiversity? At the moment we're fudging that question." Overall biodiversity might benefit from policies that allow more intensive farming on some land but leave other areas for wildlife, he says.

GM foes are staying focused. The "alleged benefits of GM do not exist," Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale said in a statement. He called on Tony Blair "to close the door on GM crops for good."

Such drastic action may be premature. "The fact that herbicide-resistant oilseed rape or sugar beets have a negative environmental effect doesn't mean all GM crops will have a negative effect," says Poppy. Sorting out the subtleties is now up to the U.K. Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, which will consider the trial results in recommendations about crop approval that it is expected to deliver to the government by the end of the year.


Organic vs. genetic engineering

By Howard Weiss-Tisman
Brattleboro Reformer Staff
Friday, October 24, 2003

State could set national precedent in use of GE seeds

BRATTLEBORO -- While Vermont's dairy industry, overall, continues to decline, the one shining light has been the success in organic farming. Meanwhile, the use of genetically engineered seeds increases every year and threatens organic fields.

Since this summer, Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr has been leading a task force of 16 legislators, scientists, farmers, and organic advocates. The agency is attempting to adopt a set of best-management practices that would allow the use of GE seeds, while protecting the state's growing organic dairy industry.

If the agency is able to arrive at consensus, and the Legislature adopts a set of best practices, Vermont may set a national precedent in the use of GE seeds.

"What we want to do is see if we can find some middle ground for coexistence, and pursue some thoughtful agricultural policy around the issue," Kerr stated in a press release.

The agency will present a report to the Vermont Legislature during the upcoming session. The task force plans to meet two more times, so what that report contains and which direction the agency chooses, remains to be seen.

The debate centers mostly around feed corn. GE corn is being grown on approximately 22 percent of the state's acreage devoted to the crop, according to the agency. Ninety-seven percent of GE seeds sold in the state are corn.

GE seeds are legal and acceptable, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Food and Drug Administration has no laws or regulations concerning their use.

"Our concern is that if Vermont passes a law to put a moratorium on the seeds, it would be challenged in court," said agency spokesman Jason Aldous. "We want to develop policy with farmers and experts so it is not decided by the courts."

Pollen from corn grown with GE seeds can spread through the air, Aldous said, and potentially contaminate an organic field. The agency is considering setting up buffer zones between fields, or staggering planting times to protect crops.

"We are trying to forge something now and get everyone involved, and listen to everyone's concerns. But," he added," it hasn't been easy."

"Compromise can be extremely difficult," said Marian White, policy analyst for the agency, and one of the organizers of the task force.

White said if Vermont passes legislation on coexistence it would set a precedent, because no other states have taken a formal position on the issue.

The task force has been listening to geneticists and federal officials to try to reach an educated decision.

"There is a lot of emotion around the subject of coexistence," White said, "and understanding the science is a crucial aspect of getting the legislation right. Vermont is known for its tolerance, and we have to be tolerant of all farming methods."

The task force met for the fifth time Thursday in Montpelier, and an organized protest was held in front of the agriculture building. Around 30 farmers and activists gathered to show their opposition to the work of the task force.

"We are opposed to the adoption of 'Accepted Agricultural Practices' or best-management practices that would allow the use of genetically engineered crops. We urge the governor to support the growing of environmentally sound, healthy crops and food products in Vermont by calling a time-out on GMOs," said Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in a press release.

Butterworks Farm, in Westfield, is one of the largest organic dairies in the state.

"There is no proof that coexistence works," said Bayard Littlefield, coordinator for the Vermont Genetic Engineering Action Network, a group opposed to any GE agriculture.

Thirty-seven of the 60 organic dairy farmers in the state have signed a petition opposing the coexistence policy, Littlefield said.

"People are worried about their livelihood," she said. "And the governor is not listening to the people of Vermont on this," she added, noting that 70 towns have passed town meeting resolutions which call for a moratorium on growing GE crops.

But according to Vern Grubinger, director of the Center For Sustainable Agriculture and a vegetable and berry specialist with the University of Vermont Extension, the choice is not so clear.

"It is a very complex issue," said Grubinger, a member of the Agriculture Agency's task force. "Clearly, GE crops are not allowed under organic standards, and they pose a threat to organic farmers if they get onto their farms. But on the other side, mainstream dairy farmers want to keep them, and the state is convinced that they legally have to allow them to."

GE corn contains a gene from a naturally occurring bacterium that helps control pests like the corn borer and root worm, Grubinger said, "and that's why GE corn is so widely planted in the state. Some conventional farmers find it useful. They don't have to apply other pesticides, and they find it safer and easier."

Grubinger applauds the state's attempt to formulate policy, but worries that even if a series of best practices are adopted, organic farmers may not be sufficiently protected.

"My concern is with the accidental spreading of seed in a combine, or with seed spilling from a truck," Grubinger said.

In Canada, a field of conventional canola was contaminated when a truck spilled GE seed along the road, and in Texas, GE corn was detected in a shipment of organic tortilla chips.

"There isn't an organic police out there testing for contamination, so it could happen and farmers wouldn't even know," Grubinger said. "A moratorium on new GE crops would make it much easier to assure that organic farmers are protected, because the more GE crops that are here, the harder it will be to control them, let alone take them away from farmers who want to use them."

And when GE crops like alfalfa and strawberries arrive it will be even harder to protect organic fields, because bees can carry their pollen for miles. These and other GE crops should be available within a few years, he said.

"With more GE crops and acreage we will have fewer options for protecting organic farmers. And the irony is that organic farming is the most rapidly growing segment of agriculture in Vermont," Grubinger said.

"Personally, I wish GE crops would go away. But that is a fantasy," he added. "If the advocates who want a moratorium don't succeed, then we walk away with nothing. Given the current legal and political situation the first step is to put some protections in place to protect organic farmers."


Cloned Food Gets Closer To Market

By Elizabeth Weise
USA Today
October 30,2003

The arrival of meat or milk from cloned animals in America's grocery stores takes a giant step forward today with the release of a Food and Drug Administration report that says cloned animals pose no greater risk to human health than normally bred animals.

It is the first time that a regulatory body has said that such animals are safe to eat and greatly increases the likelihood that the FDA will lift its voluntary ban on the sale of meat, milk and food products made from cloned animals. In 2002, the FDA asked companies engaged in the cloning of agricultural animals to voluntarily refrain from selling them for human consumption.

The executive summary of the report is to be presented Tuesday to the FDA's veterinary medicine advisory committee, which will evaluate it and eventually consider whether the agency's voluntary restrictions should be lifted. The FDA has not said when the full 300-page report will be released to the committee.

Industry experts say the sale of products made from cloned animals is only the first piece of a much larger picture - the sale of "transgenic" animals. Companies around the globe are already working to genetically modify animals to produce drugs and all manner of chemicals. And they anticipate a day when animals might be engineered to produce extra-tender meat, milk naturally low in lactic acid or eggs that protect against heart disease.

"This sets a basis for the next level, which is transgenics," says Lisa Dry of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "You've got to cross this threshold before you can go there."

But Greg Jaffe, biotechnology coordinator with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the food-safety evidence is in short supply. The FDA risk assessment makes numerous assumptions that the public might not make, he says. The first is that a healthy animal is likely to produce safe food products, so if a cloned animal is healthy, foods made from it will be healthy.

"The analysis says that if a clone gets as far as the slaughterhouse, it has to be healthy. And if it's healthy, then it's probably not harmful, but they don't have the data to back it up," Jaffe says.

The FDA risk assessment also looks at the moral and ethical issues raised by animal cloning. Clones are subject to many pathological problems, including hypertension, kidney abnormalities, liver problems, limb and body wall defects, and abnormally large babies.

However, the risk assessment finds that the health problems aren't that much different from those seen from artificial reproduction technologies commonly used on farms.

Even if the FDA lifts its ban, whether a market will exist is another matter. The most important issue for the nation's grocers is that consumers are convinced and assured that the food supply is safe, says Stephanie Childs of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

It's important to remember that few clones will be sold as food, says Janet Riley of the American Meat Institute. "It's an exact twin. We're copying an animal that has optimal characteristics, such as flavor or tenderness, and using it for breeding stock so that its offspring will have those characteristics."


Bizarre Genetically Engineered Jellyfish-Corn Growing in Texas

For Immediate Release
Luke Metzger 512-479-7287
Richard Caplan, 202-546-9707
October 30, 2003

Authorized experiments are a risk to human health and the environment

(Austin, Texas) A variety of genetically engineered corn with jellyfish genes is being field tested in Texas, according to a new report released today by TexPIRG. The PIRG–authored report, Weird Science: The Brave New World of Genetic Engineering, documents the previously inconceivable ways in which scientists are manipulating nature and highlights the differences between genetic engineering and traditional plant breeding including a field test of genetically engineered corn with genes from jellyfish by the biotech company Pioneer in Texas and nineteen other states. It also examined the unpredictability of genetic engineering, detailing examples of some unexpected results that have already occurred in field tests.

As part of their fourth annual Kraft Week of Action, TexPIRG and the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition are calling on Kraft to remove genetically engineered ingredients from their products, and join in the call for stronger regulations of genetically engineered crops, including mandatory pre-market safety testing and labeling

"Open-air plantings of bizarre gene combinations in common food crops are unpredictable and potentially dangerous," said Luke Metzger of TexPIRG. "The biotechnology industry, the food industry, and the U.S. regulatory system are failing to protect human health and the environment."

The report found that twice as many field tests of genetic engineering experiments involving plants combined with genes from humans, chickens, cows, mice, and other animals were authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) between 2001 and mid-2003 than were authorized during the entire first 13 years of USDA record keeping.

The report highlights field tests of unusual gene combinations such as:

  • Corn and Jellyfish Pioneer has genetically engineered corn with genes from jellyfish and more than 20 other organisms, many of which are not disclosed as part of the company's confidential business information. USDA issued a permit to Pioneer to grow this experimental corn on 490 acres in twenty states across the country including Texas. The exact locations and purposes of these field trials are also undisclosed.

  • Corn and Hepatitis B and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus ProdiGene genetically engineered a corn crop with genes from a number of viruses, including hepatitis B virus and the simian immunodeficiency virus. USDA issued a permit in 2001 for ProdiGene to field test this pharmaceutical corn on 53.5 acres in Nebraska.

  • Safflower and Carp Emlay and Associates created safflower that produces pharmaceutical proteins by genetically engineering the safflower with growth hormones from carp. USDA agreed in June 2003 for this crop to be grown on 11 acres in North Dakota and Nevada.

  • Wheat and Chickens The University of Nebraska acquired three permits to grow field trials of wheat genetically engineered with chicken genes to produce fungal resistance. The field tests were authorized to occur between March 2002 and August 2003 in Nebraska.

  • Rats and Soybeans The University of Kentucky used the genes of the Norwegian rat to alter the oil profile of soybeans. The test was authorized to begin in May 2003 on an acre in Kentucky and can continue until May 2004.

The report disputes claims by industry that they can insert foreign DNA into new species with great accuracy, and that the technology is merely an extension of traditional plant breeding. In May 2000, for example, Monsanto disclosed for the first time that its genetically engineered soybeans - their most widely used product, which has been on the market for four years- contained additional and unexpected gene fragments. Just one year later, Monsanto had to admit once again that additional unexpected DNA was discovered in the soybeans.

"Despite very visible gaffes by the biotechnology industry, such as illegal corn in taco shells or unapproved genetically engineered livestock in the food supply, it is shocking to learn about experiments that put rat genes in soybeans and chicken genes in corn," said Metzger. "Because genetically engineered crops are poorly regulated and resulting food products carry no consumer label, we are all test subjects in a vast food experiment."

The Food and Drug Administration does not require safety testing or labeling for genetically engineered foods. 80-90% of the American public consistently favors mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. The Department of Agriculture was recently excoriated by the National Academy of Sciences for inadequate oversight over field testing of genetically engineered crops and a lack of scientific expertise.

TexPIRG and Genetically Engineered Food Alert criticized the U.S. government's continued efforts to force genetically engineered products on American consumers by failing to offer consumer choice through mandatory labeling, and forcing them abroad through trade threats and multilateral trading institutions such as the World Trade Organization. Kraft is the largest food company in the United States and second largest in the world. The coalition criticized Kraft for removing genetically engineered ingredients from food sold in the European Union while taking no such action in the United States.

"Genetically engineered products are being forced on us without adequate testing and without consumer choice," said Metzger. "Kraft has the opportunity to be a leader in rejecting genetically engineered crops but has failed to do so. It is time for the food industry and the biotechnology industry to stop this unwelcome experiment on the U.S. environment and the American public."

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