NFPA Tells Members to Ignore Consumer Group Concerns Over Genetically Engineered Foods, Says FoE

Contact: Mark Whiteis-Helm of Friends of the Earth, 202-783-7400, ext. 102

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Week reported today that the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) is "advising its members to ignore the efforts of advocate groups seeking to pinpoint and reduce the use of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients." This announcement comes in the wake of a Friends of the Earth (FoE) letter-writing campaign directed at the CEOs of 83 prominent food companies -- among them PepsiCo., Nabisco, Nestle, General Mills and Kellogg -- inquiring whether or not any use potentially harmful genetically modified Bt corn in of their products.

Friends of the Earth is concerned because a recent study conducted by Cornell University published in the journal Nature found that corn genetically engineered to include the Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) kills the larvae of the Monarch butterfly.

"NFPA is telling big food companies to thumb their nose at consumer concerns," said Friends of the Earth President Dr. Brent Blackwelder, "Food companies need to look at the facts of recent scientific studies and not the profit-driven bias of the NFPA."

According to a Consumer Reports study published yesterday, scientists at Iowa State University determined that "pollen from some types of genetically modified corn can kill monarch larvae."

The FoE Letter was sent on August 6. To date, only one company -- UTZ Quality Foods Inc. -- has responded. UTZ, a maker of potato chips and snack foods, acknowledges that it uses genetically engineered ingredients in its foods. In their letter to FoE, they stated "The FDA does not regard GE foods as any different from foods processed through conventional means."

"The FDA is letting American consumers down," said Blackwelder. "FoE and food safety advocates insist that the FDA is required by law to examine GE foods because the are different. They can contain genes from other species, have traits that do not occur naturally, and are changed in ways that scientists say cannot be accurately measured."

-0- /U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/ 08/27 12:48

Copyright 1999, U.S. Newswire

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