Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To: Unilever, maker of Buitoni, Hellmans, Lipton and Knorr

Today I have posted this letter on the facebook pages of Unilever, Hellman's, Lipton, Buitoni and Knorr.  In it I make reference to Activists, Radical's Foodies, Treehugger's and Vegan's.  I have no problem with any who consider themselves one of these.  I reference them because I have read many Pro-GMO articles that use those labels as if they are somehow people who's views are unimportant and should not taken seriously.

This is it,

I have become aware that your company is willing and able to provide products that are GMO free to your customers in Europe. As an American Citizen I am angered and offended to find that this is viable option for your company but that you are unwilling to provide these same products to us here in the United States. Your products are on the shelves of many American households, including mine.  They are feeding us and our children.  As an American I am deeply concerned about Transgenic Agriculture and its presence in the food that I eat.  To know that you can provide GMO free options but don’t here in the U.S. has provoked me to seek an option from a company that values my right to know and choose for myself the ingredients that are right and healthy for my family. 

Give us here in the United States a GMO free option.  Inform us on your labels that GM ingredients are present. Show us here in the United States that our lives, our health and our business is just as valuable to you, as in Europe.  I would like to know your response and look forward to hearing it.

As I look forward to your response, understand that I have read and copied here directly from The Unilever Website your position on Biotechnology.

Here it is.

Biotechnology and the use of genetically modified ingredients and organisms (GMOs) are a concern to some consumers. Here we present Unilever’s position statement on genetically modified crops.

Our position

We support the responsible use of biotechnology within the framework of effective regulatory control and provision of information about its use. The use of this technology to improve food crops can bring important benefits to mankind and individual applications should be judged on their merits.

We acknowledge that the public's view of biotechnology, such as the use of GM ingredients in foods, is still evolving and that the debate and public acceptance are at different stages in different regions of the world.

Our companies are free to use ingredients derived from genetically modified crops that have been approved by the regulatory authorities and which meet our own standards for quality and acceptability.

The decision whether or not such ingredients will be used is made at local or regional level, taking into account public perception, national legislation, availability and costs of alternatives, and attitudes of our customers, including the retail trade.


You would be wrong to assume that there is universal acceptance of this technology and its presence in our food system here in the U.S.  You would be wrong to assume that efforts to reclaim control over our choices within the Nation’s food system is full of nothing but “Activists” “Foodies” “Radicals”, “Tree Hugger’s” and “Vegans”.    It is the refusal of the industry, of which you are a major player, to acknowledge our right to choose an option that matches our belief that the presence of GMO’s in our food is wrong and will prove to be unhealthy that is creating this activism.  The stance that you and companies like you are taking may be legal and it may be the industry standard.  It may leave you thinking that all is well and you can just move on with business as usual.  It appears to me that it is the Industry’s stance that, if “I” don’t like GMO’s and don’t want them in my food then, “Oh Well”, I can just go buy organic food.  The truth is, that is more and more what you are forcing me to do.  I will do what is right for my family.  Did you hear that…? YOU are forcing me.  Is that what you really want?  Do you really want to force me to stop using products that I have come to rely on, which you produce?   Here is a representation of what I am hearing as I talk to my friends about this issue.  Many have no idea what GMO’s are and had no idea that they are eating them.  I have not met one person who has said to me, I know what GMO’s are and I support it and am happy that they are in my food!  Mostly I hear people who admit that they don’t want to be eating GMO’s because they are unsure about their safety or, they believe they are dangerous.  Yet they feel that they have no choice.  They are busy trying to make ends meet so they don’t have time to research their options or they are too financially strapped to consider organic options.  You, and the Food industry at large are pushing the American public into a corner and Americans do not like being forced into a corner.  Bit by bit you will find us standing up and fighting back.  Why would you want that?  I do not understand why, if you are already producing the GMO free options that I am looking for, you won’t sell them to me.  What I am asking is that you label your foods containing GMO’s and make your GMO Free options available to me so that I can buy them.  Your refusal to do so, and reliance on a statement that simply covers you legally, says to me that my right of choice and my value as a customer are meaningless to you.  I will not stay with a producer that does not care about my choice.  Yes it is inconvenient and in many cases more expensive but you have motivated me with your refusal to reevaluate your business practices within the U.S.  Unless you provide me with a GMO free option, the Buitoni Pasta, Hellman's Mayonnaise, Wish Bone Salad Dressing and Knorr Stocks, which I have trusted for many years and in some cases all of my life, will be replaced with something else.