Pro-Biotechnology Groups Protest Anti-Science Activists

Pro-Biotechnology Groups Protest Anti-Science Activists

Advocates of Safe and Nutritious Food Defend Genetic Engineering
July 19, 2000

Washington, DC, July 19, 2000 – Supporters of agricultural biotechnology sponsored a counter-protest today against environmental activists calling themselves “Genetically Engineered Food Alert.”  “Food Alert” activists were protesting grocery stores and food producers selling genetically engineered products.

“Agricultural biotechnology is an important and safe tool for improving food products and boosting agricultural productivity,” said Gregory Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  CEI joined with other groups, including Consumer Alert, The Hudson Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, Center for International Food and Agriculture Policy, and the American Council on Science and Health in supporting the decision by those companies to embrace genetic engineering and agricultural biotechnology.

The “Genetically Engineered Food Alert” representatives appeared at a Washington-area Safeway grocery store to demand that the supermarket refund their money for products that contained genetically engineered ingredients, claiming that such ingredients somehow make a products less safe.

The counter-protestors, including five CEI staff members, were quick to correct them, noting that not only are foods developed with biotechnology safe for consumers and for the environment, they can be a powerful tool in helping to alleviate global poverty and hunger.  After Food Alert activists returned food products purchased at Safeway earlier in the day, CEI staffers immediately volunteered to repurchase those same items, including canned soups, cookies, and breakfast cereals.

Counter-protestors distributed a letter praising Safeway for not giving in to anti-biotechnology hysteria.  They also distributed copies of a Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology signed by nearly 2,800 scientists from around the world, including three Nobel laureates.

“Agricultural biotechnology allows scientists to create plants that are more productive, more nutritious, cheaper to grow, and require less fertilization,” said Conko.  “That’s why so many scientists are rallying in support of this technology.”

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.