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Genetically modified foods

Coalition of Ethics-Based Investors Aim to Stop Planting of Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: genetically modified foods, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) An investors' coalition called the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has launched a campaign to secure promises from companies not to use sugar from genetically modified (GM) sugar beets.

The www.DontPlantGMBeets.org campaign encourages consumers to write to 63 U.S. beverage, food and restaurant companies and ask them to swear off the GM beets for the spring 2008 planting season.

"You have the power to tell agribusiness firms that you won't buy sugar made from genetically modified sugar beets," a sample letter on the Web site reads. "You should know that I am among the more than 50 percent of Americans who avoid genetically modified foods if given a choice. I do not want to be 'forced' to eat genetically modified sugar either because it is sneaked into my food on an undisclosed basis or because it is added into virtually all food and beverages."

According to Leslie Low, director of energy and the environment at ICCR, such pressure campaigns have in the past secured promises from McDonald's to avoid GM potatoes, General Mills to avoid GM wheat, Anheuser-Busch to avoid GM rice and even Campbell's Soup to swear off using GM tomatoes, whose research it had paid for.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a GM sugar beet in 2005. The beet is engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. To date, the beets have not been commercially planted.

"If the sugar beets in question are planted, GM sugar will enter the food supply in early 2009," Lowe said.

Lowe noted that the production of GM sugar would complicate U.S. exports to European countries, which have previously rejected GM crops from the United States.

The ICCR is a coalition of almost 300 faith-based investors who represent more than $100 billion in capital. The coalition has expressed concerns with GM crops due to "weak governmental review and oversight, and the lack of long-term, independent and peer-reviewed safety studies."

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