Walmart Unaccountable to Consumers’ Demands
April 17, 2012
A Statement From the Coalition Pressuring Walmart Not to Sell GE Sweet Corn
Washington, D.C. — In January, Food & Water Watch launched a campaign to pressure Walmart to refuse to sell Monsanto’s GE sweet corn. In coordination with CREDO Action, SumOfUs, Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health, and Corporate Accountability International nearly 500,000 people signed petitions asking Walmart to refuse to stock Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) sweet corn, more than 150 events have taken place at Walmart stores across the country and over 8,500 people have called Walmart executives, store and regional managers, and Walmart’s customer service line.
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch: “Walmart says it cares about customers’ safety and satisfaction but in response to the nearly half a million concerned citizens who asked Walma rt not to sell this unlabeled, untested and potentially unsafe GE sweet corn it only offered the glib statement that it ‘does not specifically source foods that have been genetically modified’ and it ‘follows all federal and state regulations.’
“It is well-known that the company routinely asks its suppliers to jump through rigorous hoops and agree to unfair terms in order to keep Walmart’s profit margins high. Walmart wields a lot of power over its suppliers and can easily get a commitment from them that their corn is not genetically engineered. If Walmart tells its suppliers that it does not want GE sweet corn, it would stop the product in its tracks.
“While the non-answer Walmart offers is misleading, it is clear in one definitive way. The company states that it ‘requires our suppliers to be in strict compliance with all labeling and disclosure laws,’ which, incidentally, don’t exist for GE foods. Therefore, it is clear that retailers like Walmart will continue to be unresponsive to consumers’ concerns around the risks of GE foods until the law forces them to be accountable.”
Charles Margulis, Sustainable Food Program Coordinator at the Center for Environmental Health: “In the past few years, CEH has found high levels of lead in backpacks, jewelry, toys, and even honey purchased from Walmart. In each case, Walmart quickly required its supplier to clean up the problem. Walmart could easily be proactive and refuse this risky new GMO corn. Walmart shoppers should know that experimental corn is coming to the world’s largest retailer.”
Heather Whitehead, True Food Network Director at the Center for Food Safety: “It’s unfortunate that Walmart has chosen to ignore its customers. Walmart claims to be responsive to customer concerns, yet they have ignored the pleas of half a million people to reject this new genetically engineered sweet corn. If companies like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and General Mills can inform their suppliers that they don’t want Monsanto’s GE sweet corn, Walmart could certainly do the same.”
Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director and founder of SumOfUs: “Walmart’s decision to sell Monsanto’s new genetically modified corn is irresponsible and dangerous to its customers and to farmers around the country. Consumers have made clear that they don’t want to eat genetically modified corn that’s untested on humans — but Walmart is effectively giving them no choice since the new Monsanto corn won’t even be labeled when it’s sold to you.”
SumOfUs.org is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.
CREDO Action has 2.7 million members across the U.S. who fight for progressive change and raise money for organizations like Food Democracy Now! and the Organic Consumers Association. Since 1985, CREDO and its membership have donated over $65 million to progressive causes. www.credoaction.org
The Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. The Center for Food Safety’s True Food Network is a national grassroots network with over 200,000 members where concerned citizens can voice their opinions about critical food safety issues, and advocate for a socially just, democratic, and sustainable food system. On the web at www.centerforfoodsafety.org and www.truefoodnow.org
The Center for Environmental Health protects people from toxic chemicals and promotes business products and practices that are safe for public health and the environment. www.ceh.org
Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact) is a membership organization that has, for the last 35 years, successfully advanced campaigns protecting health, the environment and human rights. StopCorporateAbuse.org
Anna Ghosh, Food & Water Watch 415-293-9905
Kaytee Riek, SumOfUs, 267-334-6984
Center for Environmental Health: Charles Margulis, 510-697-0615
Center for Food Safety: Heather Whitehead, 415-826-2770