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GEO Free

13 February 1993

Dear EDEN Patron,

The trend to commercialize genetically engineered food compels Eden Foods to assure you that we will not support or participate in this movement away from natural foods as they are manifest by Nature.

Please let this letter serve as our affidavit and your assurance that Eden Foods will not purchase or sell any food or food ingredient known to be genetically engineered, and that we will act to best ensure our avoidance of such.

You can depend upon Eden Foods to be diligent in avoiding any aspect of the commercialization of genetically engineered food. We object to the introduction of these foods for human consumption in any manner, for any reason. We are fundamentally opposed to these foods for moral, ethical, and practical reasons.

With more than twenty-four years in the natural foods industry, I remain unaware of any other food company that spends a greater percentage of its time or money to be certain of the growing, ingredients, and processing used for foods carrying its brand name.

Very truly yours,
Michael J. Potter
Chairman and President

EDEN - GEO Free Assurance Since 1993

Foreseeing the commercialization of genetically engineered food, Eden established a policy against genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) and their derivatives in food, beginning with the letter above in 1993. Since then we have remained diligent in doing all that is necessary - and beyond - to keep EDEN food GEO free.

Eden’s GEO free assurance is made possible by:

  • Knowing the land, our growers and their families, and suppliers
  • Maintaining traditional, natural methods in food handling and processing, with no shortcuts
  • Thorough audit trails and meticulous record keeping
  • In house and third party GEO testing programs

In 1998 the New York Times hired a laboratory to test for GEOs in eleven soy and corn based foods, and the only one that tested negative (GEO free) was EDENSOY soymilk.

Because soybeans are the second most prevalent genetically engineered crop in America (next to corn), Eden and our affiliates have evolved an exacting system to make sure that all of the soybeans in EDENSOY soymilk remain GEO free.

Following, from seed to final product, are the steps we take:

  • American Soy Products (ASP), our affiliate company and the certified organic maker of EDENSOY, manages all of the organic soybean seed stock that our growers use.
  • We submit "foundation seed" that is certified IP (identity preserved) and produced specifically to be GEO-free to an independent laboratory for PCR third party testing before planting as an organic seed crop.
  • We contract with a single, certified organic farm in Northern Michigan to grow this foundation seed into certified organic seed stock. We have worked with this grower for almost 15 years.
  • Before we distribute the certified organic seed to our growers, seed samples from every bag of seed (composite samples) are again PCR tested.
  • The audit trail that precedes each seed shipment to our growers includes the following documents: Organic Certification, independent GMO/PCR test results, Certified Seed documentation (Michigan Crop Improvement Association's seed quality & inspection certificate), and Affidavit of Non-GMO variety.
  • At the time of harvest, each grower sends a 2 pound sample of each variety of soybean they've grown that season to ASP, which conducts quality assurance analysis and in house GEO testing.
  • If the sample meets ASP's quality standards, tests negative for GEOs, and ASP has received current year certification from the grower for his/her soybean crop the sampling records (showing GEO-free test strip results) are forwarded to the certified organic elevator that handle our soybeans, and ASP approves the grower to deliver his crop to the elevator.
  • Upon delivery of a truck of soybeans at the elevator, the grower (or transporter) provides a "clean truck affidavit."
  • A two pound "GIPSA probe composite sample" is then taken from each delivery. The elevator performs a parallel quality analysis and GEO strip test on each of these samples.
  • If the sample again meets our quality standards and tests negative for GEOs, the load of organic soybeans is accepted for delivery. The GEO strip test is attached to the retained log of growers' deliveries. These records are sent to ASP after all contracted soybeans have been delivered.
  • The accepted organic soybeans are stored in dedicated organic bins at each elevator until requested for delivery by ASP.
  • All of the above steps are taken in concert with organic certification procedures. Our organic certifier (PDF) oversees the entire program and evaluates our records.

Genetic pollution is the bad news. The good news is we have continued to create and refine systems to ensure that every EDEN food is is GEO free. These steps are not easy, but they are the only way to ensure what everyone deserves: freedom from the genetically engineered food experiment.

Background: Why A Global Moratorium on Genetically Engineered Food is Needed

The technology of Genetic Engineering (GE) is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms-plants, trees, fish, animals, humans, and microorganisms. This technology is wielded by transnational "life science" corporations such as Monsanto and Aventis, who patent these blueprints, and sell the resulting gene-foods, seeds, or other products for profit. Life science corporations proclaim that their new products will make agriculture sustainable, eliminate world hunger, cure disease, and vastly improve public health. However, these gene engineers have made it clear, through their business practices and political lobbying, that they intend to use GE to monopolize the global market for seeds, foods, fiber, and medical products. GE is a revolutionary new technology that is still in its early experimental stages of development. This technology has the power to break down the natural genetic barriers-not only between species-but between humans, animals, and plants. Randomly inserting together the genes of non-related species-utilizing viruses, antibiotic-resistant genes, and bacteria as vectors, markers, and promoters-permanently alters their genetic codes.

The gene-altered organisms that are created pass these genetic changes onto their offspring through heredity. Gene engineers all over the world are now snipping, inserting, recombining, rearranging, editing, and programming genetic material. Animal genes and even human genes are randomly inserted into the chromosomes of plants, fish, and animals, creating heretofore unimaginable transgenic life forms. For the first time in history, transnational biotechnology corporations are becoming the architects and "owners" of life.

With little or no regulatory restraints, labeling requirements, or scientific protocol, bio-engineers have begun creating hundreds of new GE "Frankenfoods" and crops. The research is done with little concern for the human and environmental hazards and the negative socioeconomic impacts on the world's several billion farmers and rural villagers. An increasing number of scientists are warning that current gene-splicing techniques are crude, inexact, and unpredictable-and therefore inherently dangerous. Yet, pro-biotech governments and regulatory agencies, led by the US, maintain that GE foods and crops are "substantially equivalent" to conventional foods, and therefore require neither mandatory labeling nor pre-market safety-testing.

This Brave New World of Frankenfoods is frightening. There are currently more than four dozen GE foods and crops being grown or sold in the US. These foods and crops are widely dispersed into the food chain and the environment. Over 80 million acres of GE crops are presently under cultivation in the US, while up to 750,000 dairy cows are being injected regularly with Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Most supermarket processed food items now "test positive" for the presence of GE ingredients. In addition, several dozen more GE crops are in the final stages of development and will soon be released into the environment and sold in the marketplace. The "hidden menu" of these unlabeled GE foods and food ingredients in the US now includes soybeans, soy oil, corn, potatoes, squash, canola oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, tomatoes, and dairy products.

GE food and fiber products are inherently unpredictable and dangerous-for humans, for animals, the environment, and for the future of sustainable and organic agriculture. As Dr. Michael Antoniou, a British molecular scientist points out, gene-splicing has already resulted in the "unexpected production of toxic substances... in genetically engineered bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard has arisen". The hazards of GE foods and crops fall into three categories: human health hazards, environmental hazards, and socio-economic hazards. A brief look at the already-proven and likely hazards of GE products provides a convincing argument for why we need a global moratorium on all GE foods and crops.

by Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association. Full article



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