Washington, D.C., September 3, 2008 – The Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth today announced that 20 of America’s 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 or their offspring.
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, 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 Ruddick’s 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 Cooperate 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