Spectrum Organic Products Responds to FDA Letter Regarding Use of Non-GMO Seal on Canola Oil Label

PETALUMA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 3, 2002--In response to a letter received from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) referencing the "Non-GMO" seal on Spectrum Naturals Canola Oil, Spectrum Organic Products, Inc. today sent a formal response.

At issue is the public's right to know what is in the foods they eat. Currently the FDA does not require manufacturers to declare on food labels whether genetic engineering has been employed in the production of ingredients and products. In fact, the FDA heavily restricts the ability of manufacturers who verify their ingredients are not genetically altered to communicate that information on the label. Restrictions are outlined in the FDA's 1992 Statement of Policy: Food Derived from New Plant Varieties.

According to Neil Blomquist, president of Consumer Brands, "Genetic modification of food ingredients at the cellular level is a relatively new development and we believe the jury is still out as to whether widespread practice is in the best interest of consumers. Spectrum Organic Products is disappointed by the FDA's apparent lack of understanding of the issues at hand, and by the agency's actions, which we believe result in a disservice to American consumers.

"Spectrum employs genetic identification testing by independent laboratories to ensure our canola oil does not come from genetically engineered sources. Our decision to include a non-GMO or non-GE seal on our Canola Oil was made after significant deliberation. Consumers who shop in natural food stores are our core constituents. They maintain a heightened interest in source, agricultural practices and processing of foods they buy. Spectrum believes we must give them the information they need to make informed purchase decisions. We have endeavored to make clear to shoppers in a quick-read format that the oils we sell are not from genetically engineered sources and that this has been verified. Faced with this request from the FDA, we now struggle to find a way to maintain our commitment to consumers while acceding to the FDA demands."

The company plans to move from the current "Non-GMO" seal on the front label panel to a longer statement on the back panel that informs consumers the oil has been made from oil seed that has not been genetically engineered, and that this has been validated by third party analysis. Spectrum Organic Products builds shareholder value by creating leading edge, health sustaining, organic products and ingredients for a global marketplace through technical innovation, strategic alliances and a commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Spectrum, located in Petaluma, Calif., is a leading manufacturer and marketer of organic and all natural oils, vinegar and condiments under the Spectrum Naturals(R) brand and a leader in essential fatty acid (EFA) nutritional supplements under the Spectrum Essentials(R) brand.

"Safe Harbor" Statements under the Private Securities Act of 1995: The statements contained in this release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth or implies by the forward-looking statements. These risks are described in OFPI's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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