activists have upped the heat on Starbucks to try to stop the chain's use of genetically engineered foods.The Sierra Club of Canada has joined a campaign spearheaded by the Organic Consumers Association in the U.S. that is calling on the coffee huckster to stop selling baked goods that contain GE products, remove all milk products with recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and sell only fair-trade organic coffee and cocoa.
Health Canada has not approved the use of rBGH. But Sierra Club deputy director Angela Rickman says her organization wants Starbucks to guarantee that it will not sell any goods that contain rBGH or GE ingredients.
"Starbucks isn't necessarily the biggest, baddest player," says Rickman. "But it's the biggest coffee retailer in the U.S. and is in a position to send a strong signal to the markets that we don't want GE products."
For its part, Starbucks says it is willing to address these concerns and look for alternatives to GE products. It claims that all Starbucks coffee and tea in the U.S. is currently GE-free. The company also says it will offer rBGH-free milk to customers in all its U.S. stores by the end of the summer.
It promotes fair-trade coffee in its U.S. stores and claims to be the largest U.S. coffee retailer that sells it.