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SEATTLE – Saying Starbucks has failed to make a firm commitment to sustainable and eco-sensitive products, the Organic Consumer Association has organized protests to encourage the locally-based coffee retailer to alter its policies and promote Fair Trade, shade-grown, sustainable coffees as its “product of the day.”

Events are scheduled today and Tuesday for Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, London (UK), and scores of other cities are part of an ongoing international campaign against Starbucks, which began March 20.

Starbucks, the largest gourmet coffee shop chain in the world, has previously indicated that it is considering giving in to at least some of the demands of the Organic Consumers Association, but still has not yet made a firm commitment. This round of Starbucks protests coincides with a convention being held in San Diego of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Activists will leaflet and protest Starbucks policies, demanding that the company remove recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and other genetically engineered ingredients from its brand-name beverages, baked goods, chocolates, and ice cream; start brewing and seriously promoting Fair Trade, shade-grown, and organic coffees as its “coffee of the day”; and improve the wages and working conditions of farm workers on the coffee plantations of its suppliers in Guatemala, Mexico, and other nations.

“Vague promises and half-measures are not enough,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. “Starbucks must either give in to the demands of consumers and public interest groups around the world for a non-genetically engineered product line, Fair Trade coffee, and social justice, or else they run the risk of further damage to their reputation and bottom line.”

Starbucks counters that it is committed to sourcing high-quality products that support a sustainable social, ecological and economical model of trade and production.

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