17/05/2009

Shopper beware 'GM-Free Chicken' Made with GM crops?

 

Consumers may be being duped by a high-profile TV campaign by Inghams claiming their chickens have ‘no added hormones… or GM ingredients”.

In a bizarre twist of logic, though the ‘added ingredients’ may not be GM, the chicken itself may have been fed with GM soy. Inghams claim this makes no difference to the chicken, (nor to the consumers it may be duping!).

The advertising campaign means most consumers are being led to believe the company has a GM-free policy. But the Australian company’s on-line statement – right at the bottom of the page- is astonishing in explicitly endorsing use of GE feed for their products.

“Consumers hearing a claim ‘no GM ingredients’ will reasonably assume the company’s policy is as far as possible to be 'GE-Free'", says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment," notwithstanding accidental contamination that some governments overseas allow.”

“But consumers will be right to feel betrayed on discovering that Inghams endorse the use of GE feed to produce the chicken itself. It is misleading for Inghams to crow that the added ingredients are not GM, but fail to mention the chicken itself may be fed GM grain, and the meat would very probably contain GE DNA!”

There are two substantial facts that make Inghams claims misleading:

1) Scientific studies show GE feed can have a significant impact on the organism consuming the GE crop – including on fertility, and the implications demand scientific investigation. This is denied by Inghams in its on-line policy statement.

2) Consumers choosing to support companies with a GM-free policy may be willing to accept small levels of accidental GM contamination, but would certainly not expect a company making a claim of “no added GM ingredients” to use GM feed.

The Inghams advertising has been the subject of formal complaint to the Commerce Commission, but as yet there has been no review under the Fair Trading act and no action taken. The advertising continues on-air and people seeking to avoid GE products will continue to be misled.

Shopper beware.

ENDS

Contact: Jon Carapiet 021 0507681
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 3486731

References.

· J of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, (2002) 47, 241 -243

A rapid, reliable method of the extraction of avian faeces of total bacterial DNA to be used as a template for the detection of antibiotic resistant genes.

(Chambers PA, Duggan PS, Forbes JM, Heritage J)

Chickens fed GM Maize pUC18 bla gene.

· Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2000, 271, 54-8.

Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thringiensis sp. kurstaki HD73 binds to surface proteins in the mouse small intestine.

Vazquez-Padron R, Gonzales-Cabrera J, Garcia-Tovar C, Neri-Bazan L, Lopez- Revilla R, Hernandez M, Moreno- Fierro L and de la Riva G.

· Cell Structure and Function, 2002, v: 27, 173-80.

Ultrastructural morphomertical and Immunocytochemical analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on Genetically modified soy bean.

(Malatesta M, Caporaloni C, Gavaudan S, Rocchi M, Serafini S, Tigeri C and Gazzanelli G.)

[N.B. GE and GM are used interchangeably and mean the same for this press release]


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