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Biotech Hero Now Sells GMO-free Product Lines
Lumen Foods Backs Off Biotech

(10 July - Cropchoice News) -- Lumen Foods, the Louisiana-based soyfoods maker, has backed off of its pro-biotech campaign. Pronouncements favoring GMOs made by Lumen's founder Greg Caton made ag headlines in February. But the company has changed course radically, introducing a wide variety of certified non-GMO foods over the past few months.

Lumen's products include Stonewall Jerquee (a soy-based beef jerky substitute) along with a wide variety of vegetable protein ingredients.

A few months ago, Lumen was leading a pro-biotech charge. In a Pro Farmer headline article on February 23, Caton declared "be advised that [Lumen Foods] is now promoting biotech in all its food products and is encouraging other food manufacturers to do the same". Caton also took a swipe anti-biotech activists, saying his new policy was "a crack in the Greenpeace egg. Now we just need to draw more attention to it..."

The same article attributed to Caton statements of questionable sensitivity. Pro Farmers quoted the Lumen chief as being contemptuous of consumers, saying that some people who don't want to eat GMO foods are "gullible souls at the far left end of the Bell Curve".

The policy backfired. The attention Lumen got was from outraged buyers. A wave of emails and calls came in from concerned customers. In an updated biotech policy posted at the end of May, Lumen admits customers reacted unhappily to its campaign.

In a remarkable turnaround of its product line, less than 5 months after the ill-fated biotech push, Lumen now promotes a range of "non-GMO" and "non-GMO certified" foods. Lumen's new biotech policy adopts a quieter stance and says it wants to promote dialog, clarifying in the first paragraph that "the products we make for the health food trade are GMO-free".

But even this has, apparently, not been enough. To further reassure customers that its health food products really are non-biotech, Lumen has taken the unusual step of posting GMO test result letters on its website. See examples here and here.

Lumen's turnaround has not been reported in the mainstream agriculture press, which only covered the pro-GMO stance.

SOURCE: Lumen Foods, Pro Farmer Editors