Coca Cola and 106 Food Brands Commit to Supply Non-GE Products in China

Press release - 2005-11-13
Greenpeace today released in Beijing and Guangzhou the 'Shoppers' Guide to Avoiding GE Food 2005' based on the commitments made by Coca Cola and 106 other food brands to using only non-GE (genetically engineered or modified) ingredients in their products for the Chinese market.

Coca Cola, the 9th biggest food and beverage producer globally, recently said to  Greenpeace China: 'In China we use high fructose corn syrup produced from non-biotech corn or sugar cane and beet, for which biotech versions are not being commercially grown. For products containing soya, we source our soya locally from non-biotechnology crops.' In follow-up correspondence Coca Cola further confirmed that they are not using any other ingredients from corn or rapeseed in the products sold in China.

'There is a clear growing trend in the food production field to not use GE ingredients in China today,' said Steven Ma, Greenpeace China GE campaigner. 'That is in-line with Chinese consumer concerns and is also in-line with global trends that reject the use of GE food.'

This is the second time for Greenpeace to release the Shoppers' Guide in mainland China since 2004. In this updated Guide, 107 food brands are in the green list, which indicates that they have committed to not use GE ingredients in their products. Compared with the 78 green brands in the 2004 Shoppers' Guide, the green list increased by 37 percent. This indicates that more and more food producers have started to positively respond to consumers' concerns,' said Ma. Also in the green list of this Guide are PepsiCo, Danone, Ferrero, and other top ranking food producers.

Additionally, this Guide presents a red list consisting of 110 brands from food suppliers that have not committed to a non-GE policy. This alerts consumers to the fact that these are probably GE foods so that they can decide for themselves whether to buy them or not. There is also a yellow list of 14 brands, which means these food products probably contains GE ingredients but that the providers will consider changing to a non-GE policy in the future.

An IPSOS[1] survey conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in December 2004 shows that 57 percent of consumers in top three cities in mainland China do not want GE food, while only 16 percent of the respondents expressed willingness to try GE food. 'Most of the Chinese consumers have already announced their rejection of GE food. For food companies, it would be wise to adopt a non-GE policy in China so that they could avoid public relations crises,' said Ma.

Other contacts:

Steven Ma, GE Campaigner, Greenpeace China +86 10 65546931-158
May Zhou, Media Officer, Greenpeace China +86 10 65546931-105

VVPR info:

May Zhou, Media Officer, Greenpeace China +86 10 65546931-105


[1] Ipsos is now the world's third largest survey-based research group and headquartered in Paris