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News ::
Activists Demand Shaw's/Star Markets Go GE-Free
23 Jul 2002
Modified: 24 Jul 2002
Activists from Greenpeace and Clean Water Action descended on the Star Market at the Prudential Center today to protest the company‚s risky genetically engineered (GE) foods.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2002

ACTIVISTS DEMAND SHAW‚S/STAR MARKETS GO GE-FREE

„New England Wants What England Gets--Non GE Food‰, Said Protestors

BOSTON ˆ Activists from Greenpeace and Clean Water Action descended on the Star Market at the Prudential Center today to protest the company‚s risky genetically engineered (GE) foods. Several protesters dressed in biohazard suits marched into the store and removed hundreds of store brand products from the shelves. Meanwhile others conveyed their message with a banner that read, „Shaw‚s: New England Wants What England Gets ˆ Non-Genetically Engineered Food,‰˜a reference to the fact that the companies parent store in England does not sell GE foods. For the past week, the groups have joined with consumers across the New England area to demand that the stores eliminate GE ingredients from its store brand products.

„Since Shaw‚s and Star Market have refused to listen to their customers and do the right thing by removing these unlabeled, untested and unsafe products, we have done it for them,‰ said Kim Foster of Greenpeace. „ New Englanders do not want to be guinea pigs in this genetic experiment with our food.‰

After removing the products, the protesters replaced them with non-GE store brand products from Shaw‚s British parent company, J. Sainsbury. Three years ago, Sainsbury removed GE ingredients from its store brand products in England, but the company still uses the experimental foods in its American store brands. According to their web site, Shaw‚s controls ingredients in its store brand products „from field to shelf,‰ so eliminating GE ingredients in these products is clearly feasible for the company.

Two recent national polls have shown that more than 90 percent of U.S. consumers want GE foods labeled, and that if labeled most consumers would avoid them. „Shaw‚s claims its customers don‚t care about GE food, but polls show that Americans are just as concerned about these risky foods as Europeans,‰ said Linda Setchell with Clean Water Action. To date, Shaw‚s has received over 16,000 postcards from concerned customers across New England calling on the company to eliminate genetically engineered ingredients from their store brand products.

GE foods have not undergone long-term independent safety testing by the federal government or independent researchers. While the biotech industry continually asserts that GM crops are safe, the Royal Society of Canada, in a report published in 2001, stated that it „is unaware of any public data available for confirmation of this assumption.‰

In England tomorrow, J.Sainsbury is set to hold its Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Greenpeace representatives will speak on the genetic engineering issue at the meeting and demand that the company end its double standard by eliminating GE foods from its Shaw‚s brand food.

Greenpeace and Clean Water Action are urging consumers get active and informed by:
· Letting Shaw‚s know they don‚t want genetic experiments in their food
· Visiting www.truefoodnow.org and www.cleanwaterfund.org/safefoods

PHOTOS AVAILABLE AT: http://frodo.greenpeace.org/photos/ge
user id: media password: truefood

CONTACT: Alisa Arnett, Greenpeace, (415) 255-9221, ext. 330; (415) 407-9293 (mobile); Kim Foster, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaigner (617) 480-3432 (mobile); Linda Setchell, Clean Water Action (617) 256-8920 (mobile).

Alisa Arnett
West Coast Media Officer
Greenpeace
75 Arkansas Street #1
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415-255-9221 ex. 330
Fax: 415-255-9201
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A Suggestion
24 Jul 2002
The most efficient form of protest is to hit their bottom line.
Picket signs and marches are cute, but the powers that be could care less. Educate consumers and let them make their own informed choices. A directory of GM products in print and online would be a useful in lieu of labeling. The goal should be to drive business away, not to get your face on the news. Shaw's has competitors who would gladly take their business. Get them in on the act. Send Shaw's customers to stores who behave responsibly. Finally, don't make unsupported claims about GM food risks. This is just as bad as making baseless claims about their safety.