Date: Friday September 15, 2000To: Ms. Laurie Gannon, Public Relations Director of Taco Bell CorporationCopy: Taco Bell Corporation Senior Executives and Legal Dept.From: Dean Hegwood, V.P. Risk Management
Subject: Unfavorable Media Exposure within 48 hours
Taco Bell Corporation’s Director of Public Relations has in the last few hours received a phone call from the company’s Government Relations Team. The Government Relations Team has learned that a special interest group known as “Friends of the Earth” will be releasing information on Monday September 18, 2000 to the Washington Post. This press release will be implicating the Taco Bell labeled taco shells which are manufactured, distributed, and sold by Kraft Foods, Inc. as containing a genetically modified corn ingredient unapproved for human consumption. The substance is known as StarLink and is a product of Aventis.
On August 1, 1996, Taco Bell and Kraft Foods, Inc. entered into a licensing agreement for Kraft Foods to manufacture, distribute, and sell Taco Bell branded taco shells in the retail grocery market.
In August 1998, the EPA granted Aventis registration of protein “Cry9c” known as StarLink as a plant pesticide.
In August 1998, the EPA granted Aventis approval to use StarLink only for commercial use as animal feed. Precautions must be in place to ensure prevention of StarLink from entering the human food supply.
In April 1999, the EPA denied Aventis request to allow StarLink to enter the human food supply due to lingering concerns related to allergens.
In November 1999, customers in California, Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota were sickened with E-Coli O157:H7 tainted ground beef.
Unfavorable Media Exposure
September 15, 2000
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In 1999, the European Parliament imposed tighter restrictions on the use of genetically modified foods.
In August 2000, certain nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) began public debates related to