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Progressive goes GE free

Auckland 20th November 2001. Greenpeace today welcomed a statement from Progressive Enterprises Ltd that will see them becoming the first supermarket chain in New Zealand to go GE free in their own brands.

The policy outlined “the goal of Progressive Enterprises Ltd that our Signature Range and Basics branded products will not be sourced from ingredients derived from genetically modified crops”.

“People do not want to be part of a GE experiment that could effect our environment and our health, and Progressive has clearly acknowledged this. They have ensured that all ingredients will be from GE free sources. This goes above and beyond the ANZFA labelling laws that take effect in a few weeks (1) and is another significant move in the global rejection of genetic engineering.” said Annette Cotter, Greenpeace GE campaigner.

Progressive holds about a quarter of the New Zealand retail grocery market and operates the Foodtown, Countdown and 3Guys supermarket banner groups. Progressive is also the franchise co- ordinator for the FreshChoice and SuperValue banner groups. (2)

“Progressive have taken the lead and are the first supermarket chain to commit to a GE free policy for their own brands. Now other supermarket chains like Woolworths and New World (Foodstuffs) need to continue the trend and make the same commitment,” said Ms Cotter.

This week in the United States, a similar commitment was made by Trader Joe’s, the first mainstream supermarket chain in the US to do so. Trader Joe's has agreed to ban genetically engineered ingredients from its thousands of own brand products. The company stated that ‘the majority of our customers would prefer to have products made without genetically engineered ingredients’(3)

Progressive’s policy comes as Greenpeace continues to distribute the second version of the GE Free Food Guide, which outlines the GE status of food products and companies in New Zealand. The guide is available on the web at http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/truefood

Annette Cotter, Greenpeace GE Campaigner, 021 565 175, 09 630 6317 x 308

(1) ANZFA (Australia New Zealand Food Authority, labelling laws from 7 Dec 2001)

(2) http://www.progressive.co.nz/

(3) http://www.greenpeaceusa.org

Note: In the last year Tegel, Unilever, Heinz-Watties, Cerebos Gregg’s, Quality Bakers and Frucor have committed to GE Free policies.

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