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GMOs and BAD Customer Service (Real Food Wednesday)

January 26, 2010 · 30 comments

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You won’t believe the shocking email I recently received from a reader…and you really won’t believe the surprise ending to the story.

Nancy’s email:

Dear Kelly, I am a big fan of your website and have been eating traditionally for about 6 years. I recently found some corn nuts at the dollar store and emailed the company to find out if they used GMO corn. I was shocked and hurt by the response I received! I wanted you to read it and see if there was anything I could do to get the word out on a company with such blatant disregard for their customers.  Thanks for all you do in the fight for eating traditionally.

Nancy’s letter to Amport Foods:

I just recently purchased your product, “corn nuggets”.  They are delicious
but I was wondering if you use GMO corn in them and is there any
additives in the salt you use to season them? Thanks for a good product!

Amport Foods responds:

Thank you for your contact.  We are not aware of any GMO free corn in
the U.S.  We feel it is a ridiculous concern based on very poor science.
Salt is salt and we package and label as required by law.  We appreciate
your interest and patronage, but if these concerns are truly important
to you, you may be better served at a health food store.
We appreciate your patronage.
The Customer Support Team
American Importing Co., Inc.
Minneapolis, MN
www.amportfoods.com

IMG_4773 The Big Guns

I emailed Jeffrey Smith, who leads the fight for a GMO-free food supply, and he had the perfect positive response:

When ignorance is so unveiled, it can be used to our advantage to spread the word wider.

Don’t you love the “glass-is-half-full” type?! (Pictured above is Jeffrey with his wife, Andrea.)

So he and I are both blogging about it, and we hope that you’ll help, too…

Jeffrey also posted about this on The Huffington Post and when you read that, you’ll find out the AMAZING surprise ending to this story!

Will you help us spread the word today by retweeting Jeffrey’s post and this one (see box above right), as well as linking to it in your Facebook updates, and/or in your own blog posts, too?!

The Ultimate Goal:

We want to GET GMO INFO ON FOOD LABELS, so the same change takes place in the public mind as it did after foods with trans fats had to be labeled!  All of a sudden everyone began talking about it, they learned about the dangers, and the food industry listened.  Even those who are far from being Real Foodies now know that trans fats are bad.  We can do that with GMOs, too!

Find out more:

Real Food Wednesdays Find more Real Foodie scoop (and share yours, too) at today’s Real Food Wednesday blog carnival! (It will be live shortly after midnight.)

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  • { 26 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen January 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    I’m dumbfounded that any company would respond to a customer’s inquiry with such intense vitriol. It sounds like Jeffrey proved at least somewhat effective in speaking with the executive but I’m still stunned that that level of customer service seems to be acceptable in any way. Wow. just. wow.

    Reply

    2 Sheri aka Mom January 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I’m with Jenny, I can’t believe that someone would reply to a customer like that but how wonderful that Jeffrey called him. And it’s even more wonderful that he listened to Jeffrey when his rant was over. Thanks for sharing this Kelly. :-)

    Reply

    3 Avivah @ Oceans of Joy January 27, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Jeffrey beautifully illustrated the importance of responding to someone without attacking them, and being well educated so he could combat ignorance with facts. Great job all around, and kudos to the executive for being willing to consider new information and act on it!

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    4 Kim - the Nourishing Cook January 27, 2010 at 1:46 am

    this is amazing! I just read the HuffPost blog too and commented there… you have inspired me. The littlest action CAN make a difference! we just need to keep chipping away at the bad information people are posting and saying… thank you…

    Reply

    5 kc January 27, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Would you be shocked to learn that GMO corn wax is on apples, cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant in the produce section, even some of the organic ones? What about organic chicken in the grocery store? It is sprayed with a GMO corn-derived antibacterial spray even though GMOs are not allowed in organic foods. How about US Wellness Meats? Good meat, huh? Well, they are required by the government to use GMO corn-derived lactic acid when processing the pasture finished meat. Organic Dole bananas are gassed with GMO corn-derived ethylene gas. Some organic expeller pressed oils are corntaminated with GMO corn-derived citric acid when it is used as a “de-gummer” for the machinery. Organic homogenized, pasteurized milk (the only kind available for me) contains GMO corn in the added Vitamin D. Did you know that children’s liquid pain relievers contain at least two sources of GMO corn and sometimes more? Every medicine on the shelves of the local pharmacy contains GMO corn in some form or other. I require a prescription for OTC strength ibuprofen so that I can get it compounded corn-free. Even organic grains and grain products contain GMO corn if they are “enriched”. A lot of eggs are washed with a citric acid solution which seeps into the eggs because the shells are porous. We have a GMO corntaminated society and it is getting worse every day.

    Reply

    6 Dan @ Corganic January 27, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Great story! Kudos to you Kelly for bringing more attention to this important issue. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, as well as Jeffrey’s.

    Reply

    7 Peggy January 27, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Is that a Kop siren I hear? You go get ‘em, Kel! Amport foods just has no clue who they’re dealing with but, two people I wouldn’t want to go up against in this world are you and Jeffrey Smith!

    Reply

    8 Julie January 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I thought of the phrase “you have only one time to make a good impression”. This company sort of blew it.

    Reply

    9 NancyO January 27, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Posted to my facebook page…thanks for sharing it with us!

    Reply

    10 Jim Purdy January 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Fascinating story, and awesome followup at the Huffington Post. Thanks.

    The 50 Best Health Blogs

    Reply

    11 Megan January 27, 2010 at 9:05 am

    what a happy ending though. thanks so much for posting the beginning AND the end to this – and for following up. you are making such a difference in people’s lives!

    Reply

    12 Mojo Yugen January 27, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I’m more dumbfounded someone would think there is a possibility corn nuts found at the dollar store didn’t have GMO corn in them.

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    13 Melissa @Cellulite Investigation January 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

    What a great story! Amazing that you come away actually liking the author of that email. Great work, Officer Kelly!

    Reply

    14 Dan @ Corganic January 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Mojo – When I first skimmed through the article, I thought KELLY bought corn nuts at a dollar store!!! I had to do a double take. LOL!

    Reply

    15 Heather M January 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

    It is very distrubing and heartbreaking at the same time the way this company responded, because this is the way (attitude and thought) America has been going for a long time. It’s also amazing how powerful knowledge is – I must say that the customer service rep. had to been a little surprised that someone would contact them about such a concern (maybe no one has before) or she is freaking out because people actually have brains and are standing up for their rights and concerns. Kelly, you are doing a great job. Thank you for posting this story and working hard for the health of America.

    Reply

    16 Heather M January 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I got sidetracked and didn’t realize I missed reading the Huffington Post artical. The ending like you said was surprising, and great that he responded the way he did.

    Reply

    17 Sara January 27, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Wow, I am truly surprised by that ending! I did NOT expect that! I’ve been reading too many bad-news stories about food I guess, lol! How wonderful that Jeffrey did not react and was kind & level-headed the entire time.

    Thanks so much for posting this, and I will definitely blog about this!

    Reply

    18 Bonnie January 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Wow! It’s great to know that sometimes people do listen, no matter how entrenched in their way of thinking they are! Good for Jeffrey! And good for the woman who wrote to you!

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    19 Cara @ Health Home and Happiness January 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    That is the worst customer service I’ve ever heard of! And yes, we want GMO on labels! I usually just assume that it is GMO unless otherwise marked… or I know my farmer :)

    Reply

    20 Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life January 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    “We are not aware of any GMO free corn in the U.S.”

    Really? It sounds like they have no idea what’s going on in the world of food! We just splurged yesterday on tortilla chips at the local (regular, not health food) grocery store made with non-GMO corn. Someone needs to tell these folks it *does* exist… and they don’t have to be so durn grumpy about it.

    Reply

    21 Leigh January 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Years ago I was part of the letter writing campaign urging President Clinton to require labeling of GMO foods. The result? It was forbidden for manufacturers to advertise non-GMO ingredients in their products. Now that President Obama has appointed former Monsanto executive Michael Taylor to the FDA, it seems that our uphill battle is only going to be harder.

    Reply

    22 Hallee January 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Wow – that was a surprise ending!

    Reply

    23 Alex January 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Awesome story! Maybe there is justice in the world, for those who are willing to hope for it and assume the best about people.

    I’ve tweeted @JeffreyMSmith’s HuffPost article.

    Reply

    24 Kelley Ahearn February 3, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Dear Kelly, I wrote to the company because I wanted to “know for myself” well this was their response.

    Dear Kelley,

    Unfortunately we did not say this. Blogs are probably a great place for
    misinformation and after reading what was written, we have even lesser
    faith in their factuality. All but 2 of our products are even a GMO
    concern. Corn is one of the most modified ag products in the U.S. so a
    statement like that of which Mr. Smith claims was said is ridiculous.
    However, he claims to be the worlds most expert person on GMO (it is
    recorded) and when asked if he is a scientist or degreed in the field he
    claimed his education through his personal studies, through interviews,
    etc. You be the judge.

    In truth, toasted corn is our smallest selling product of the hundreds
    we produce.

    The Customer Support Team
    American Importing Co., Inc.
    Minneapolis, MN
    http://www.amportfoods.com

    So who is telling the truth?! Thank you for being the safe place to receive information!
    Kelley Ahearn

    Reply

    25 Sheri aka Mom February 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

    In my opinion it sounds like they’re backpedaling Kelley. And Jeffrey is an expert in GMO’s – which no one is offering a degree in. His written numerous books and is considered ‘the’ expert. It’s a rude reply from this company, once again and if I bought anything from them – which I don’t ;) – I would stop based on all of this.

    Sheri @ momsforsafefood.org

    Reply

    26 S February 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I think a revolution should be started & everyone should start in their own neighborhoods asking restaurants & stores if they use any GM food. Where does their meat come from? Is it grain & corn fed or fed GM ingredients? Do they have any organic meals? etc. I did this a little in my town & asked my friends to start doing it & their were some pretty interesting replies. But it also made the restaurant owner/manager/ceo check.

    Reply

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