Fonterra is letting New Zealand down because of its red listing in Australia's new Kids True Food Guide, launched on Wednesday.
The latest consumer guide to avoiding GE ingredients has a red mark against our flagship dairy brand, undermining New Zealand's reputation for clean, green, safe and GE-free produce.
Fonterra are on record as not using rGBH (GE bovine growth hormone), but are understood to allow the use of GE cattle-feed imported as grain from overseas, despite international promotion of New Zealand products as grass-fed.
"It is unclear what other GE ingredients Fonterra may be using, but whatever it is, they must stop," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ (in food and environment).
Scientific studies have shown that animals fed GE grain can have organ damage and reduced fertility. The use of rBGH in the USA has been highly contentious because of increases in hormones linked to cancer in humans. The integrity of New Zealand dairy production is also threatened by plans to release GE Alfalfa in the US which could lead to a spread of GE contamination into feed used in New Zealand.
US consumers have joined Australian and New Zealand consumers in demanding all GE ingredients be labelled, so that people can choose to avoid them. A report this week shows 96% of American consumers support GE labelling.
But in the absence of mandatory testing, labelling and public-health monitoring of GE ingredients,The True Food Guide and similar guides available around the world are vital for consumers to identify brands they can trust.
Fonterra is in a position where what it does can damage New Zealand's reputation but is not alone in being red-listed.The iconic spread Vegemite has also been listed in the red. Vegemite is made by US manufacturer Kraft, who faced a boycott of Vegemite in 2007 and announced it contained no GE organisms.But Kraft has refused to say if it uses GE grain or other GE organisms in the manufacturing process, casting a shadow over the iconic brand.
Kraft recently became owners of Cadbury which is also red-listed in the True Food Guide, adding to the damage already caused to Cadbury by its use of palm-oil linked to deforestation.
"Fonterra must get its act together fast and ensure it provides GE-free products," says Jon Carapiet.
"It is unacceptable for our leading exporter to be trading on our national reputation whilst pulling the wool over the eyes of consumers who do not want a bar of GE in the food chain."
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
MSNBC Poll: 96% of Americans Want Genetically Modified Foods Labeled
Is MSNBC reading our minds? This week MSNBC conducted a poll to find out whether people think GMOs should be labeled. After a total of 38,479 votes, the results are in: 95.9% of those polled want GMOs labeled!
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman - 2011-03-02
Do you want to know if the food you eat and feed your family has been genetically engineered? If you do, you�re not alone. Over 95% of people responding to an MSNBC poll this week on labeling of GE foods have said loudly and clearly, �OF COURSE we want to know!� Over 40,000 people have voted (you can too, here). This follows on an earlier CBS poll finding that 87% people want to know if genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in their food. Evidently, this is something that people feel strongly about.
Despite overwhelming evidence that Americans are deeply concerned about GE contamination of our food and farms, our public agencies have, in the space of two months, fast-tracked approval of three new risky GE crops: GE alfalfa, GE sugar beets and a new kind of GE corn (engineered by Syngenta for use in ethanol production � I don�t think we want this ending up in our kids� cornflakes!).