14/01/2010

UK Supermarkets Won't Take NZ Products Fed GM Grass

 

Major supermarkets overseas, including British chains Marks and Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s, would shun New Zealand products made using Genetically Modified grass being developed by AgResearch.

AgResearch’s development of GM grass puts New Zealand food exporters on a collision course with leading supermarkets and consumers around the world, instead of investing in other approaches to reducing New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.

UK chain Marks and Spencer’s says “since spring 2002, we've been producing all our fresh meat and poultry, salmon, shell eggs and fresh milk from animals fed on a diet based on non-GM cereals and soya”.

“By carefully checking all our manufacturers' factory processes, we prevent our food mixing with any GM materials," says Karen Hahm Jones, M&S Customer Services.

Sainsbury’s Customer Manager Alan Hurd says ”we don’t allow the use of GM crops, ingredients, additives or derivatives in our own-brand food, drink, pet food, dietary supplements and floral products.”

“GM-grass is an economic dead-end, certainly for a brand like New Zealand where quality, naturalness and ethical production really matter,”says Jon Carapiet spokesman for GE Free NZ (in food and environment).

“The threat to our food exports across Asia, Europe, as well UK supermarkets is real“, he says. “This is the wrong way to be using gene science in New Zealand, and shows the government urgently needs to intervene on the country’s biotechnology strategy to prevent such mistakes.”

AgResearch is set to apply for trials of GM grass later this year . AgResearch's other applications to ERMA for a wide range of GM animals closed for public submissions in December.

ENDS

Contact -
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731 / 06-3089842

REFERENCES
- GM grass trial aims to cut cows' gas - Friday Nov 06, 2009 By Eloise Gibson

www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10607618

- Karen Hahm Jones, Marks & Spencer Customer Services

"We also work with a number of laboratories specialising in GM testing. They analyse the ingredients used in Marks & Spencer products and animal feeds, and check our food is non-GM before it goes out on the shelf.”

- Alan Hurd Sainsbury’s Customer Manager;

"Sainsbury’s stock a choice of meat and dairy products sourced from livestock which have been fed a diet of non-GM soya and maize proteins. These include all our Sainsbury’s SO Organic products, farmed salmon, fresh outdoor reared pork and 21-day matured beef from our Taste the Difference range, traditional beef, outdoor reared bacon, all our fresh and frozen chicken and all our eggs from non-caged hens. Our Farm Promise milk is from dairy cattle fed a non-GM diet".

www.j-sainsbury.co.uk.


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