Time for Government to Pull Up NZ’s Slide into Dirty Food Technologies.
The Soil & Health Association wants 2007 to be the year that New Zealand confirms its Clean Green image and snaps the crown agencies out of the slide into the unsustainable and unwanted activities of GE and animal cloning.
Soil & Health also wants Fonterra, Meat New Zealand and other key commercial agencies and productive sectors to confirm that they will not be part of the slide to food production using cloning or genetic engineering.
Although against international consumer trends, government agency AgResearch has supported the US Food and Drug Administration’s direction of bringing food from cloned animals into the food chain.
Crop & Food another government institution continues to push ahead with genetically engineered food plant trials. Forest Research continues with its GE tree trials. Landcare Research is researching GE biological pest controls.
“With key politicians mooting a new era of sustainability and for ‘sustainability to be central to New Zealand’s unique national identity’, Clean and Green and 100% Pure need to be reinforced as New Zealand images, not attacked by unproven, high risk and unwanted technologies,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.
Of particular recent concern was AgResearch’s cloning call, according to Soil & Health. AgResearch is way out of step with consumer preferences, and AgResearch support for the US FDA’s position that includes a no labelling intent for foods derived from cloned animals, is both arrogant and a call for commercial disaster.
GE Free and Clone Free must be standard for New Zealand in the new era of sustainability and huge international market growth for organics.
New Zealand benefits from its clean and green reputation, and foods need to be labelled to ensure consumers both in NZ and overseas can choose GE and clone free.
Consumers won’t want food that has animal welfare implications either, according to Mr Browning, noting that cloning has caused significant suffering in animals already.
Any involvement by Fonterra in cloning is also a step away from a sustainable future for its farmer owners. Real value-added products will have genuine ECO sustainability ticks or organic certification, not risky new food concoctions.
Organic certification, which is the vanguard of consumer guarantees for sustainable production, does not allow either GE or cloning in either production or processing.
Government expressing a target of an Organic 2020 to its funding and research agencies would be far more productive for New Zealand’s reputation, market appeal, and food and environmental safety.