IOWA CITY, Iowa — The National Cooperative Grocers Association, a business services cooperative here representing 110 natural food co-ops nationwide, said it believes that a recent deregulation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enable farms to plant potentially harmful, genetically engineered sugar beet seeds. NCGA sent out a release in an attempt to let consumers know the potential negative impact on not only themselves, but also the environment and family farmers. "With the USDA deregulation, much of the nation's sugar and sweetener supply will be derived in part from GE sources that can be harmful for consumers," said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA. "And, because the USDA does not require manufacturers to label their foods as containing GE sugar, individuals will have no idea what type of sugar they are consuming. Enabling the production of GE beet sugar is especially frustrating for consumers, seeking truly natural, non-GE foods." GE foods have been genetically altered by scientists for increased yields, spoilage retardation, and pest and pesticide/herbicide resistance. In 2001, sugar producers and providers such as American Crystal Sugar, M&M Mars and Hershey's announced they would not allow GE sugar into their supplies.
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