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Pew to host debate on GM food labeling

Editor's note -- This is being reposted today, June 24, 2002.

(June 4, 2002 CropChoice news) -- The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology announced today that it is hosting a policy dialogue, "Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Communicating or Creating Confusion?" on June 27, 2002 from 12 noon to 1.30 p.m. CDT in the Paris South Room of The Hotel Monaco, 225 North Wabash, in downtown Chicago. Dan Charles, Contributing Science Correspondent for National Public Radio and author of "Lords of The Harvest: Biotech, Big Money and the Future of Food," will moderate the lively discussion with consumer activists, a major food company representative and academic researchers.

"One of the most contentious issues in the debate over the use of agricultural biotechnology has been over whether or not foods made with genetically modified ingredients should be labeled as such," said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Initiative. "We are pleased to provide a forum for all viewpoints on this issue to engage one another and help illuminate the discussion in a moderated, thoughtful manner."

Panelists are:

  • * Professor Jonathan K. Frenzen, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, who has researched consumer attitudes toward GMOs and believes mandatory labels are an ineffective way to communicate information to the average consumer.
  • * Gregory Jaffe, Director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI has taken the position that the best way to ensure consumer confidence in GM foods is to improve the U.S. regulatory system and that food labeling should not be a substitute for safety.
  • * Austin P. Sullivan, Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations at General Mills. Inc., who believes that mandatory labeling of biotech ingredients would, perversely, limit consumer choice, retard the development of a beneficial technology that has repeatedly been found to be safe, and that voluntary labeling is a far more efficient way to provide market-based choices for consumers.
  • * Craig Winters, Executive Director of the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods. The Campaign has been leading a national grassroots effort to get Congress to pass legislation that will require the mandatory labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered.

Note: The dialogue will be presented via a live Internet webcast. To watch go to http://www.PewAgBiotech.org or http://www.ConnectLive.com/events/pewagbiotech

To attend the lunch event live in Chicago, please RSVP to DJ Nordquist at @pewagbiotech.org or call (202) 347 9132.

The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research project whose goal is to inform the public and policymakers on issues about genetically modified food and agricultural biotechnology, including its importance, as well as concerns about it and its regulation. It is funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to the University of Richmond.