FOOD COMPANIES PLEDGE NOT TO USE CLONES

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal, USA
AUTHOR: Jane Zhang & Julie Jargon
URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122049659020697987.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
DATE: 04.09.2008

Twenty food companies have told a consumer group that they won't use milk or meat from cloned livestock.

The companies, including Smithfield Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc., were responding to a survey conducted by the Center for Food Safety, a consumer group that opposes animal cloning.

Polls have shown most consumers are uncomfortable with the idea of eating products from cloned livestock, whether for health, ethical or environmental reasons. At the same time, products from the offspring of cloned animals are trickling into the food supply. Currently, the best way for consumers to avoid such foods is to eat organic food.

Basil Maglaris, a spokesman for Kraft, the U.S.'s largest food company by revenue and a major cheese producer, said the company has told suppliers it will accept only ingredients from conventional animals. ".The surveys we've seen indicate that consumers aren't receptive to ingredients from cloned animals" he said. The pledge now only applies to cloned animals; the company says it will continue to monitor consumer acceptance of products from clones' offspring.

Other companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc., have also banned the use of cloned animals in food products. Many haven't made a similar pledge to avoid using food from the conventionally bred offspring of clones, however, partly because no one is tracking the offspring.

A few have made such a pledge. The center said eight companies it surveyed said they wouldn't knowingly use food from the offspring of clones. These include Seattle-area organic retail cooperative PCC Natural Markets and Unilever's Vermont-based ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's, which is pushing the government to create a national registry for clones and their offspring.

Andy Barker, social-mission coordinator at Ben & Jerry's, said the company isn't planning to advertise its clone-free status on its ice-cream cartons. It uses groups like the Center for Food Safety to publicize its status.

The International Dairy Foods Association, a trade group for dairy suppliers and manufacturers, said it isn't ready to embrace products made from cloned animals or their offspring. ".Our concern is what impact it would have on the market" said spokeswoman Peggy Armstrong. ".We don't want to see people not buy milk".

After the Food and Drug Administration ruled in January that products from cloned cattle, swine, goats and their offspring ".are as safe to eat as the food we eat every day" U.S. regulators quietly withdrew their request for the food industry to voluntarily refrain from selling milk and meat from offspring of clones. A similar request for products made from the cloned animals themselves remains in place.

Clones -- at about $20,000 a copy -- are too expensive to be slaughtered for food themselves, but some ranchers said they have sold clones' offspring for food.

The Center for Food Safety began surveying the industry after the FDA denied its petition in January asking for mandatory labeling of clones and their offspring, as well as the regulation of animal cloning as a ".new animal drug" which would require pre-market approval for safety before cloning can be used on animals. The FDA said the requests didn't meet the requirements for such actions.

The FDA ".has denied the desire and will of the consumers and just about all food processors" said Joseph Mendelson, the center's legal director.


20 LEADING FOOD COMPANIES AND RETAILERS REJECT INGREDIENTS FROM CLONED ANIMALS IN THEIR PRODUCTS

SOURCE: Center for Food Safety, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/CloningPR9_3_08.cfm
DATE: 03.09.2008

Consumer Preference, Lack of Market Acceptance Driving the Issue, Companies Say

Washington, D.C. (September 3, 2008) - The Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth today announced that 20 of Americaís leading food producers and retailers have stated that they will not use cloned animals in their food. The companies include Kraft Foods; General Mills; Gerber/Nestle; Campbell Soup Company; Gossner Foods; Smithfield Foods; Ben & Jerry's; Amy's Kitchen; California Pizza Kitchen restaurants; Hain Celestial; Cloverland, Oberweis, Prairie, Byrne, Plainview, and Clover-Stornetta Dairies; and grocers PCC Natural Markets, Albertsons, SUPERVALU, and Harris Teeter. The move by these companies represents a growing industry trend of responding to consumer demand for better food safety, environmental, and animal welfare standards.

".This rejection of food from clones sends a strong message to biotech firms that their products may not find a market" says Lisa Bunin, PhD, Campaigns Coordinator at the Center for Food Safety. ".American consumers don't want to eat food from clones or their offspring, and these companies have realistically anticipated low market acceptance for this new and untested technology". This sentiment is echoed by General Mills in their letter to the Center which identified ".consumer acceptance". as an important consideration with respect to the potential use of ingredients from clones in their products.

Kraft Foods expressed a similar position in a letter stating that although they defer to the conclusions of the FDA on the safety of ingredients from cloned animals, ".product safety is not the only factor we consider in our products. We must also carefully consider additional factors such as consumer benefits and acceptance...and research in the U.S. indicates that consumers are currently not receptive to ingredients from cloned animals".

In May 2008, the Center for Food Safety began reaching out to companies involved in the production, use, and sale of meat and milk products, regarding their position on the use of food from clones. In response, three of the top-earning food manufacturing companies indicated that they will not be using ingredients from clones.

Kraft Foods, North America's second largest food and beverage company, reported revenue of approximately $37.2 billion in 2007, with products such as Cracker Barrel, Cool Whip, Velveeta, Oscar Meyer, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. General Mills, another leading American food processing company, with brands that include Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Totino's, Yoplait and Haagen-Dazs, reported revenue of approximately $12.4 billion in 2007. Gerber/Nestle, a top international food manufacturing company and leader in baby food and infant formula production, whose brands include Carnation, Toll House, Lean Cuisine, and Stouffer's reported approximately $121 billion in revenue in 2007; Bringing their total revenue for 2007 to $170.6 billion.

Ben & Jerry's Social Mission Director, Rob Michalak, told the Center for Food Safety ".Cloning presents a host of complex social, economic and animal welfare consequences. The decision to approve clones for food use was rushed through, under the radar, without a proper, comprehensive review. As a result, we now need to establish a national registry and tracking framework so that people know where the clones are".

Ben & Jerry's, Amy's Kitchen, Clover-Stornetta, Oberweis Dairy, Prairie Farms Dairy, Plainview Dairy, PCC Natural Markets, Gossner Foods, and Hain Celestial have gone one step further by stating that they would not use ingredients from clones or their offspring. The Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and the American Anti-Vivisection Society are working to obtain more commitments of this kind.

In addition, Friends of the Earth has worked with top U.S. grocers to determine their policy on the use of cloned animals and their offspring in their food, and presented them with over 8,000 signatures from consumers who reject products made from these animals. To date, Albertsons, SUPERVALU and Harris Teeter have informed Friends of the Earth that they will not sell products from cloned animals. SUPERVALU, owner of Shaw's, Cub Foods, Acme Markets, and partial owner of Albertsons, is the second-ranked grocer in the nation, with a reported 2008 revenue of $44 billion. Albertsons, which operates more than 300 Albertsons supermarkets nationwide, reported over $40 billion in revenues in 2006. North Carolina-based grocer Harris Teeter reported $3.3 billion in revenues, supplying upwards of 90% of parent company Ruddickís profits.

".Grocers are recognizing that people do not want to eat food from cloned animals" said Gillian Madill, Genetic Technologies Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. ".Food safety authorities must also recognize this and - in keeping with their public interest mandate - enact labeling regulations that allow Americans their fundamental right to choose".

The American Anti-Vivisection Society, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Citizens for Health, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Humane Society of the United States, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility have sent FDA over 150,000 letters from their supporters who oppose the unlabeled introduction of cloned animals and their offspring into the US food supply.

The Center for Food Safety is national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. On the web at: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 69 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world. http://www.foe.org