GE-Free NZ rejects the attack by the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) as a deliberate effort to mislead consumers about the serious questions raised regarding maintaining the integrity of the food supply for infants.(1)
The INC should be supporting GE-Free NZ in its warning that the supply chain for infant formula is being allowed to be contaminated to the point where companies are no longer committed to stopping it.
The food companies that the INC represents (2) claim that they feel it is no longer 'practical' to prevent GE ingredients contaminating baby formula. GE-Free NZ believe this is totally unacceptable to parents. It raises serious public concern in its implications for the integrity of the food chain.
GE-Free NZ also believe the INC claim is misleading because companies are ignoring practical ways to allow parents continued access to GM-free infant formula.The acceptance of GE-contaminated ingredients by manufacturers is about trying to avoid the costs of segregation and the costs of replacing commodities with organic ingredients.
The INC should recognize that it is unethical for Nestle and Heinz to decide such costs are too high for their business. In doing so they are denying parents access to GM-free infant formula.
The INC are not serving the public interest by denying that regulation is inadequate, or that there are proven health risks from GE organisms. The concerns include intergenerational animal feeding trials showing officially-approved GE-foods may be unsafe (3). These should not be in the infant food chain.
Parents are urged to contact manufacturers to demand they preserve the supply of GM-free infant formula. It is unacceptable for companies to use excuses to deny parents this basic right, and for the INC to shoot the messenger rather than answer the serious questions raised.
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731
May 5th, 2011
By: Keith Stewart
Transnational food corporations headed by Nestlé, Heinz and New Zealand-based Fonterra have announced through their lobby organisation, the Infant Nutrition Council (INC), that it is impossible to produce, in Australia, infant formula that is free of genetically modified ingredients.
The declaration has met with an angry response from sustainability lobby group Greenpeace whose Australian GM campaigner Laura Kelly told media that the INC decision was “scandalous”. While none of the INC participants’ products are labelled as containing GM components, the INC statement said that to expect infant formula to be GM free was “unrealistic and unworkable”.
“We have spent the last year testing their products and finding varying levels of GM contamination and every time we did these same manufacturers said it was ‘an accident’ that their product contain GM,” Laura Kelly said.
“Now they’re telling Australian consumers it was not an accident, it was inevitable. It’s only ‘inevitable’ because they insist on sourcing their soy from countries like Brazil and the US. These countries have 80%-90% of their crop genetically modified, ” she added.
Kelly also called for label legislation in Australia to identify food containing GM material, as the lack of such legislation in either Brazil or the United States was the source of the current problem.
“If they want to prevent contamination, the simple answer is to buy Australian, where none of the soy is GM. That way contamination is simply not possible. Surely the Federal government would support Australian farmers in pushing for this clarity,” she concluded.
Fonterra, which is a member of the INC, declined to comment on whether it is “unrealistic and unworkable” to produce GM free infant formula in New Zealand. Instead they referred foodnews to the INC.