10/04/2010

Fonterra In Firing Line From GM Milk

 

Plans by AgResearch to produce Genetically Modified milk for overseas companies GTC and Pharming, put Fonterra in the firing line of a consumer backlash.

AgResearch has five applications with ERMA (The Environmental Risk Management Authority) proposing a comprehensive commercial expansion for the production of GM milk.The applications map a future for Genetic Engineering in New Zealand that puts Fonterra’s international standing at risk.

In consumer marketing ‘perception is reality’ and the contagion of the Fonterra brand is likely even though they may not be directly involved in production of GM milk.

There is also a real risk of direct impacts on Fonterra’s reputation from unexpected outcomes on soil and waterways resulting from spraying onto fields the waste products from GM cows and other animals.

The deformities caused by cloning GM animals and which have been a concern with AgResearch’s existing GM animal programme, will also be exacerbated.

“Animal welfare, as well as product safety, sustainability and the natural environment are all issues driving consumer behaviour,” says Jon Carapiet, spokesperson for GE Free NZ in food and environment. “They underpin New Zealand’s export and tourism industries.”

Fonterra is ‘the name on the door’ for New Zealand’s dairy exports, so any negative sentiment amongst global consumers will hit them hardest, even if it is caused by AgResearch’s deals with GTC and Pharming, and have nothing to do with Fonterra.

The risks and direct costs to New Zealand dairy farmers as a whole has not been factored in when calculating the claimed profits from AgResearch’s GM animal expansion.

There is a likelihood that giving permission to overseas investors to use New Zealand animal stock and farmland for their own purposes will damage not just perceptions of New Zealand dairy products, but also the physical integrity of our production system in the decades to come.

ENDS

Contact – Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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