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LEADING NATURAL FOODS BUSINESSES, ORGANIC GROWERS OPPOSE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS ON HEALTH, ENVIRONMENTAL, ETHICAL GROUNDS

 Jeremy Rifkin, John Robbins and Industry Leaders to Speak at
 Press Conference in Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 19;
 Pure Food Month' Set for May to Win Boycott Support from
 Hundreds of Thousands of Natural Foods Customers
 ANAHEIM, Calif., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN said it will announce tomorrow that more than 1,000 of the nation's leading natural foods businesses, food co-ops and organic growers have joined the campaign's boycott of genetically engineered foods. Natural foods products will soon begin displaying the international boycott symbol reading: "We DO NOT Use Genetically Engineered Foods." In May, natural foods stores and food co-ops around the country will observe "Pure Food Month," a month-long campaign to inform customers of the risks of genetic engineering, and the healthy and sustainable alternatives to high-tech foods.
 The announcement will be made at a press conference at the Natural Products Expo West convention in Anaheim. The press conference will be held on Friday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m., mezzanine No. 13, at the Hilton Hotel in the Anaheim Convention Center.
 National manufacturers endorsing the boycott include Eden Foods, Alta-Dena Certified Dairy, Fantastic Foods, Health Valley Foods, Horizon Natural Yogurt, Nature's Path and Odwalla. Prominent retail stores participating in the boycott include Whole Foods Markets of California, Wild Oats Markets (Colorado and New Mexico), and the Mustard Seed Market (Akron, Ohio), named natural foods store of the year by Health Food Business. These companies are among the leaders in the natural foods industry, which now has sales in excess of $4.6 billion annually.
 Featured speakers will include Jeremy Rifkin (president of the PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN), John Robbins (founder of EarthSave and author of "May All Be Fed"), Nancy Potter (president of Eden Foods), Greg Steltenpohl (chief executive officer of Odwalla), Paul Virgin (director of public relations, Alta-Dena), and representatives of leading natural foods retail stores.
 Natural foods businesses and organic growers join a growing food industry movement aimed at stopping the genetic engineering technology from disrupting the country's food supply and agricultural system. To date, nearly 4,000 professionals within the food industry -- including growers, distributors, processors, retail grocers and many of the nation's leading chefs -- have declared their support of the boycott.
 Tomorrow's announcement comes at a time when scores of biotech and agribusiness corporations are using genetic engineering technology to produce never-before-seen fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and meat products. Foods under development at this time include cantaloupe and yellow squash containing bacteria and virus genes, potatoes with chicken and waxmoth genes, tomatoes with flounder and tobacco genes, corn with firefly genes, and even fish and pork with human genes.
 Genetic engineering is a radical new technology, one that eliminates the fundamental genetic barriers that separate humans, plants and animals. By breaking down these traditional barriers between species, genetic engineering is creating novel genetic combinations that have never been part of the human diet. Although the first whole food genetically engineered products are expected to come to market beginning in September of this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not require pre-market safety testing or labeling of these foods before they reach consumers.
 Commenting on tomorrow's announcement, PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN President Rifkin, said, "Food will be the battleground of a new green politics in the 1990s. We now face the prospect of two very different visions of American agriculture and food policy in the coming decades. On the one hand lies a future of genetic engineering, high-tech foods and synthetic, industrial food production. On the other, a future of sustainable, ecological agriculture that preserves our soil, our family farms and our planet's biodiversity."
 Rifkin concluded, "This announcement made by the natural foods and organic communities represents the beginning of an historic movement to change the dietary habits of present and future generations of Americans."
 Ted Howard, executive director of the campaign, added, "Natural foods customers are among the most aware and concerned about the quality of our food supply. As centers of information for their customers, the nation's natural foods stores have a key leadership role to play in helping to mobilize opposition to genetic engineering and offering sustainable, ecologically sound alternatives."
 -0- 2/18/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information on genetically engineered foods, reporters are advised to attend the Expo's Issues and Trends Seminar "Genetically Engineered Foods: Point-Counterpoint" (Saturday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m.), at which Diane Joy Goodman, the campaign's West Coast director, will speak. Information will also be available at the PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN booth No. 177 in Exhibit Hall B at the Convention Center./
 /CONTACT: Ted Howard, executive director of the PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN, 202-775-1132/


CO: PURE FOOD CAMPAIGN ST: California IN: FOD SU:

JB-JL -- LA051 -- 8132 02/18/93 17:17 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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