News Release: For immediate release
Nov. 15, 2001
Consumer Activism Spurs Trader Joe's To Remove Genetically Engineered Ingredients!
Portland, Oregon - The national campaign to force Trader Joe's to rid their in store brand products of genetically engineered ingredients claims victory today as Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane made the announcement that the national grocery chain would begin immediately to ensure that its suppliers source only non genetically engineered ingredients. Their plan calls for Trader Joe's entire line of name-brand foods to be produced with no genetically engineered ingredients within one year.
"This announcement is a resounding victory for consumers concerned about the safety of the food they eat and the potential hazards of genetically engineered crops," stated Phil Howard, a grassroots organizer with NW RAGE. Nationwide, thousands of citizens participated via sending faxes, writing letters and postcards, talking to store managers, signing petitions, and protesting outside of Trader Joe's stores in over 20 cities. In the Portland area NW RAGE organized monthly protests at local Trader Joe's including food dumps, theatre, puppets, postcards and petitions. "This is the first mainstream grocery chain to drop GE ingredients in response to consumer activism but it won't be the last. We intend to focus our activities on another larger grocery store chain immediately," commented Phil Howard.
A Trader Joe's spokesperson acknowledged that 90-95% of their customers said they wanted the store to end the use of genetically engineered ingredients. The spokesperson was confident they could find sources for non-GE ingredients for the 85% of the products they sell that carry their in store brand names. During the campaign Trader Joe's acknowledged receiving up to 100 postcards and letters each day requesting the removal of GE ingredients from their products.
Consumers concerns over genetically engineered foods include the increased risk of cancers from ingesting rBGH milk, food allergies, lowered food quality and nutrition, increased antibiotic resistance, increased pesticide use and residues, genetic pollution, a decrease in crop biodiversity, and the negative impacts to small family farmers.
This announcement puts other grocery store chains on notice, yet again, that consumers do not want to eat genetically engineered foods and are willing to demand that their favorite grocery store remove these ingredients from their products. "The many customers who stopped shopping at Trader Joe's, because of their initial refusal to remove GE ingredients, can now return grateful that the management acted on their protests against using these untested ingredients in their food," stated NW RAGE activist Mafe Chase.
Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering is a non-violent grassroots organization dedicated to promoting a sustainable and just use of agriculture and science through education, community building, advocacy and action.
The GE-Free Markets Coalition is a national coalition formed to move all grocery stores to rid their in store brands of genetically engineered ingredients. The coalition includes Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering, GE-Free LA, Greenpeace, NE RAGE, Organic Consumers Association, GE-Free Marin, BAN NY, Genetic Engineering Action Network, GeneWise (Chicago), and the Safe Foods Campaign.
Contact: Mark Des Marets 503.239.6841, Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering