17/11/2007

Praise for Trans-Tasman Food Giant's GM-Free Policy

 

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) is welcoming food giant Goodman Fielder's decision to support continuation of Australia's GM moratorium and to put the wishes of their consumers first.

Despite federal government pushing for GM releases most states in Australia have backed moratoria and are seeing their farmers and food producerís benefit from being able to a supply the massive market for GM-free ingredients.

The Australian government has had representation from Jeffery Smith, a science journalist specialising in GMO's and a Japanese Consumer delegation representing 23 of the largest consumer groups. Both delegations warned the Australian government and farmers about the strong consumer aversion to GM foods.

New Zealand producers are already heeding similar warnings and have stayed GM-free.

Jeffrey Smith's new book Genetic Roulette documents the problems and unknown risks posed by GMO's and raises serious questions about the environmental and health impacts of these crops.

The decision on GMO's in Australia directly affects New Zealand as it has very close ties with Australia. Both countries benefit from a positive market image, including being GM-free, and a trans-Tasman body: Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) sets food standards for both countries.

"It is good to know that Goodman Fielder, our biggest staple food company, is listening to consumers and supporting the need to have reliable data on the environment and health effects of these crops," said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ (in food and environment(.

As concern for environmental issues and sustainability continues, the way food is grown and even the way it is packaged is increasingly important feature for consumers, especially in New Zealand's and Australia's most high-value export markets.

The decision by Goodman Fielder follows on from a large smoothie company 'Innocent' also confirming it is choosing to stay with recycled packaging (PET) instead of polylactic packaging (PLA) derived from a GMO corn starch plastic. In explaining the decision they cited virgin land being used for production of packaging and the use of corn that is genetically modified.

"The environmental benefit of being able to produce GM-free, organic and low-residue conventional foods is also matched by the economic benefits, " said Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ ( in food and environment).

"Australia and New Zealand farmers and food manufacturers must be on guard to protect their reputation or risk a collapse in consumer confidence and in exports vital to both economies".

Ends:

Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

Reference:

Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods http://www.geneticroulette.com/

Agriculture Minister- Western Australia, 9/11/07,
Minister welcomes Food Companyís national call to keep GM moratoria

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