Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

“We Are What They Eat”: DC Demonstration Urges Starbucks to Provide Organic Milk from Cows Not Fed GMOs

Over Eighty Thousand Consumers Have Taken Action Calling on Starbucks to Stop Sourcing Milk from GMO-fed Cows, Now Consumers Take to the Streets.

May 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 29, 2014 -Today Starbucks customers and activists came out to participate in a demonstration calling on the company to stop sourcing milk from cows fed genetically modified crops. GMO Inside, a campaign led by Green America, a national consumer advocacy group, held this demonstration at the Gallery Place, Chinatown Starbucks store as part of a national campaign to increase awareness and visibility around the issue of genetically modified crops used for animal feed. Held at one Starbucks’ most iconic locations on the East Coast, the demonstration aimed to capture the attention of local Starbucks consumers and Seattle-based executives alike.

“Starbucks is a global company that purchases a substantial amount of milk each year and is in a position to trigger shifts in the dairy supply chain,” said Green America Food Campaigns Director Nicole McCann. “By supporting conventional dairy operations, Starbucks is lending power to a destructive food system fueled by GMOs, factory farms, and pesticides that are devastating for human, animal, pollinator, and environmental health. We know Starbucks can do better, and their customers want this.”

With the anti-GMO movement heating up over the past several years, consumers have become increasingly aware of genetically modified ingredients used in processed snack foods, like high fructose corn syrup. A lesser known fact is that the livestock industry is one of the largest purchasers of GMO crops grown in the US to be used as animal feed. The Starbucks campaign aims to create greater awareness around animal products that humans consume, starting with dairy sourced from cows raised on genetically modified feed. With help from Green America and coalition members like Food Democracy Now! and the Organic Consumers Association, the petition to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has already gained over 80,000 signatures. See gmoinside.org/starbucks for more information.

While not technically genetically modified themselves, dairy products are not immune to the insidious impacts of GMOs. GMO crops require the use of toxic pesticides, which are now being used in heavier doses due to the emergence of herbicide resistant superweeds. Cows living in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are fed a grain diet comprised almost entirely of genetically modified corn, soy, alfalfa, and cottonseed, the seeds for which are owned and patented by biotechnology giants Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and Syngenta. These crops degrade the quality of our land and water, perpetuate corporate-controlled agriculture, and have potentially negative health impacts on humans and livestock.

The GMO Inside campaign is calling on Starbucks to lead the way in protecting human, animal, pollinator, and environmental health by making a commitment to providing organic milk. Evidence indicating the ecological, environmental, and health risks of GMOs and related pesticides continues to grow. In response, consumers are seeking out more sustainably produced, non-GMO and organic foods. Starbucks would be wise to act now.

ABOUT THE GROUPS

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. www.greenamerica.org

GMO Inside is a coalition of individuals, businesses, and organizations dedicated to educating consumers about the risks of genetically modified foods and growing the market for non-GMO and organic products. GMO Inside is a coalition powered by Green America, a membership-based nonprofit organization working on food, energy, and finance issues. www.gmoinside.org

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