Traceability the answer in GE Food Debate
“Making choices available through credible product information is the direction in the Genetically Modified Foods debate”, says Sue Suckling, Chair of AgriQuality New Zealand.
“Only through the development of greater product traceability can people decide for themselves what to produce, manufacture, sell, and consume.”
Ms Suckling was speaking at the Agribusiness and Food Congress in Christchurch earlier today.
AgriQuality New Zealand is a State Owned Enterprise that provides the food and agribusiness industries with credible, independent and authoritative expertise in testing, analysis, verification and assurance services.
AgriQuality New Zealand defined traceability as the creation of an integrated transparent system that tracks products from farms to markets.
“Product traceability protects and nutures consumer trust. Today’s information technologies, including barcodes, scanners, web communications and DNA testing, mean that we can put in place advanced traceability systems from farm gate to dinner plate”.
“There are opportunities for New Zealand food and agribusiness companies who want to use GM techniques and equally for those who want to remain GM free.”
“A blanket position on GM Foods is not sustainable, choice and traceability are the way of the future”.
AgriQuality New Zealand believes that the implementation of credible traceability systems will allow the New Zealand food and agribusiness industries to pursue both advances in biotechnology and specialised GM free markets because consumers will be able to trust the claims made by producers, processors and retailers.
“The development of improved traceability systems also provides wider solutions,’ says Ms Suckling. “Effective traceability would have limited the impact of the Belgian dioxin scare and other product recalls.”
AgriQuality New Zealand says a number of UK processors and retailers are responding to demand for greater information with regard to GM Foods, including Unilever UK and UK retailers Sainsburys and Marks & Spencers. In New Zealand, Sanitarium has stated also that they have invested in developing a rigorous ingredient traceability system to ensure the GM free status of breakfast cereals.
“AgriQuality is all about Integrity and Trust. These are precisely the attributes needed in the GM Foods debate.“
“AgriQuality provide practical expertise to implement cost effective systems for product assessment, identity preservation, verification and labelling that create greater confidence and enable producers, processors, retailers and consumers make their own informed choices.”
“By understanding and embracing the growing global demand for trustworthy and reliable product information and consciously choosing to take a verifiable GM-free or GM-inclusive position, food and agribusiness companies can enhance their competitive edge in international and local markets.”