Re: FW: an open letter re: GMO foods file 924579
Dear Julie and Francine,
Please address my paragraphs about the Nature's Path Foods incident and voluntary labeling. I asked specific questions about that, and your response did not address them whatsoever. How this is to be considered anything besides dismissive is an interesting question to me.
On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM, CR Email Agent 10 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear Mr. Field,
Thank you for your response. As per your request, my Director, Francine Berube, has been copied on this e-mail.
First and foremost, I would like to sincerely apologize if my response to your original e-mail seemed dismissive, as that was certainly not my intention. As I'm sure you can appreciate, we receive a very high volume of customer contacts on a daily basis and from time to time, our Customer Relations team may use a positioning statement that reflect the business' position on a certain issue. Please be assured that great consideration goes into preparing these statements and they certainly contain the most up to date information available.
I can understand your disappointment in this matter. However, for the time being, only foods that have greater than 95% GM content must have the GM claim featured on the packaging and Loblaw Companies certainly complies with that regulation. We have found that the majority of customers looking for GMO free foods are satisfied by our PC Organics and national brand organic lines. However, we always welcome and encourage product suggestions from our customers should they have certain requests. We are always looking for new ways to extend our assortment in an effort to better serve the diverse needs of our customers.
Mr. Field, the majority of single ingredient conventional foods in our stores, such as produce items, are not produced from GMOs. Health Canada's website offers a listing of potential GM products, the majority of which are corn, soy, and canola based. For more information you may wish to visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/gmf-agm/appro/index-eng.php. Please note that not all foods listed are GM based. This is a novel food listing that includes a number of GM produced foods. Additionally, safety information respecting GM foods from Health Canada can be found at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/gm-tg-eng.php.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns with us. I would like to assure you that all customer comments, including those you have shared, are reviewed by our Senior Management team for further consideration.
Sr. Coordinator, Communications I LCL Customer Relations
1 President's Choice Circle | Brampton | Ontario | L6Y 5S5
(905) 459-2500 Ext. 613293 | F: (905) 861-2387| email@example.com
From: Kevin Field [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: March 9, 2011 8:27 AM
To: CR Email Agent 10
Subject: Re: an open letter re: GMO foods[00048E9A-1031-00078EF3] file 924579
Thank you for taking the time to respond. If you could copy your
supervisor on your reply, I'd appreciate that. It feels to me as if I
received a form letter response, which did very little to address my
concerns, and other parts of the content seem to have ignored things
that I already acknowledged.
If Loblaw Companies has such a responsibility as you mention, then why
did the Globe and Mail report in 2001 that Nature's Path Foods, Inc.
had it demanded of them to remove their GMO/GE labeling or risk losing
its suppliership with Loblaw Companies? This voluntary standard your
company helped develop and publish in 2004 is just that: voluntary.
So your company can be completely in compliance with said standard (by
not labeling) and still pressure companies not to label, like in 2001.
Is this correct?
If Loblaw Companies is so interested in providing choices, then why is
this voluntary standard never voluntarily followed? The *only* way I
can tell if something happens to have GE'd food in it or not is if
it's certified organic. For those who can't afford certified organic
but want to be part of the segment of the market that's non-GE but not
completely certified, what choice have you left them? You might argue
that this has been done in the interest of a level playing field, but
instead it has polarized it into rich and poor.
What of people who care enough to learn about what they're eating, and
are not okay with some GE food but fine with others? Without
mentioning which ingredients are GE, they are unable to purchase these
things at your stores. Since your stores make up the vast majority of
the Canadian market, I'd say that the power that that brings also
brings the responsibility to let people decide. You might say,
everyone can choose to be your customer or not. Well, sort of. If
you're rich enough, you can have your food brought to you from
wherever you want. Otherwise, you may be stuck with the nearest
supermarket, which is almost always one of yours. This maybe doesn't
feel as super as it once did, when the previous generation decided to
spend their dollars at supermarkets instead of local stores until the
local stores went out of business.
Personally I am willing to go out of my way to go to stores that
actually offer me more choice. I have to admit, when things get busy
in my life, that choice often is very difficult, or even impossible,
to make, depending on where I live and my access to transportation.
Nonetheless, until I see some actual responsibility being taken in
this regard by my local Loblaw-owned supermarket, I will increasingly
be trying my hardest to shop at other stores. I'm already making
trips there just to be able to find food actually or produced
relatively near by, namely produce and dairy products. The thing is,
the economic pressure you have put on your suppliers affects even what
I'm able to buy at stores that you don't own, because they supply to
them as well. What should your suppliers do, run two separate product
lines, one for Loblaws and one for everyone else? Sure, they could,
and then of course their costs and prices go up to cover this expense,
and their products are less competitive. So even if they try not to
let you bully them, you are still bullying them. Could you explain to
me how this lines up with your "shar[ing of my] concern about this
On Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 2:14 PM, email@example.com
> Dear Mr. Field,
> Thank you for taking the time to write to us.
> Loblaw Companies has the responsibility to deliver reliable and meaningful information to consumers. We place great importance on the integrity of products sold in our stores. Our responsibility is to guarantee freshness, quality, and accuracy of labeling of all products on our shelves.
> In 2004 the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) published the "Voluntary Labeling and Advertising of Foods that are and are not products of genetic engineering" standard. This standard was developed as a joint initiative of CGSB and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors of which Loblaw Companies is a member. Accordingly, we ensure that all products on our shelves comply with this standard.
> We share your concern about this issue. However, I am sure you can also appreciate that as a retailer, it is important to act responsibly according to well-defined government standards, and to offer consumers a variety of choices. Loblaw Companies recognizes the diverse needs and preferences of our customers and we strive to offer many choices to meet those needs. That's why we are proud to carry a wide variety of Organic products that are offered throughout all Loblaw Companies affiliated stores; and many stores have Natural Value departments dedicated to providing customers with both organic and naturally produced products. As you may know, each organic product adheres strictly to Canadian and International organic production standards, which include a prohibition on using genetically engineered material. Each organic product is also certified by independent third-parties to provide additional assurance that the organic standards are met.
> Julie Dunham
> Sr. Coordinator, Communications I LCL Customer Relations
> 1 President's Choice Circle | Brampton | Ontario | L6Y 5S5
> (905) 459-2500 Ext. 613293 | F: (905) 861-2387| firstname.lastname@example.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kevin Field [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: March 2, 2011 7:55 PM
> To: CR Email Agent 10
> Subject: an open letter re: GMO foods[00048E9A-1031-00077EE0]
> Dear Loblaws,
> I'm an old customer of your products, particularly in Zehrs and valu
> mart stores. I heard that you have pressured your suppliers not to
> include claims of being GMO-free. While I understand there's no
> Canadian government standard for labeling at this time, I do not agree
> with this strategy. I want to know more about the food that I'm
> buying, and in my opinion, some labels are better than none at all.
> At least then independent researchers can investigate claims of being
> GMO-free, as they currently do with green products. I find it
> irresponsible to blame the government for lack of a standard, while
> simultaneously stymieing your supplier's efforts. It simply takes
> control, or the possibility of it, away from the public.
> Especially now that I have a small child in my care, and given that
> the long-term effects of GMOs are currently unknown, I have been
> lately buying, and will continue to buy, less and less PC and no name
> products while this issue continues. I appreciate the emergence of PC
> Organics brands, but bullying your suppliers for advertising the fact
> that their products are GMO-free I feel reveals different intentions.
> So if you're only catering to the market, and not necessarily to the
> well-being of your customers, well, you're losing this individual's
> business, at least.
> I will voice to the government the opinion of the vast majority of
> Canadian consumers that we want GMO products to be labeled as such,
> but until then I'm also voicing it to you in the hopes that you start
> encouraging your suppliers to include such information, or better yet,
> discourage your suppliers from using GMO ingredients until more is
> known about the effects of their consumption, like similar chains in
> the US and EU have already done. Don't keep Canada in the Dark Ages
> just because you have the power to do so.
> Kevin Field
> Ontario resident
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> Le présent message électronique est confidentiel et peut être couvert par le secret professionnel. Il est à l'usage exclusif du destinataire. Si vous recevez ce message par erreur ou si vous n'en êtes pas le destinataire prévu, vous devez détruire le message et toute pièce jointe ou copie et vous êtes tenu de ne pas conserver, distribuer, divulguer ni utiliser tout renseignement qu'il contient. Veuillez nous informer de toute erreur d'envoi en répondant à ce message. Merci de votre collaboration
This email message is confidential, may be legally privileged and is intended for the exclusive use of the addressee. If you received this message in error or are not the intended recipient, you should destroy the email message and any attachments or copies, and you are prohibited from retaining, distributing, disclosing or using any information contained. Please inform us of the delivery error by return email. Thank you for your cooperation.
Le présent message électronique est confidentiel et peut être couvert par le secret professionnel. Il est à l'usage exclusif du destinataire. Si vous recevez ce message par erreur ou si vous n'en êtes pas le destinataire prévu, vous devez détruire le message et toute pièce jointe ou copie et vous êtes tenu de ne pas conserver, distribuer, divulguer ni utiliser tout renseignement qu'il contient. Veuillez nous informer de toute erreur d'envoi en répondant à ce message. Merci de votre collaboration