Calgene Inc. announced that it plans to "substantially reduce"marketing of its non-genetically engineered tomatoes inanticipation of launching its Flavr Savr tomatoes, which havebeen genetically altered to resist decay. The company also saidit is "temporarily scaling back" its Calgene Fresh subsidiary,which was marketing the non-engineered tomatoes under theMacGregor brand name.

Calgene's chief executive officer, Roger Salquist, said the Davis,Calif., company "cannot justify further heavy operating lossessuch as those incurred by the conventional ... tomato businessduring the last several months." He said that the MacGregorline was launched to establish a grower base, develop adistribution system and establish consumer demand forpremium tomatoes. Now, he said, "we finally have a clear viewof the path to clearance and have decided to focus all ourefforts on the pending Flavr Savr tomato launch."

That path has been temporarily obscured, however, by FDA'sannouncement last week that it has postponed an advisorycommittee hearing on the safety of Calgene's Flavr Savr tomatoand on a food additive petition for its selectable marker gene.The Food Advisory Committee was set to meet with Calgene onMarch 9 and 10; no new dates have yet been set.

-- Karl A. Thiel Business Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.