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One ice cream in a cone, no chicken fat thanks

23 March 2000

Consumers buying ice cream in cones would have no way of telling whether it contained chicken fat, lard or beef dripping, if proposed food standards are introduced, Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

The revised Australian New Zealand Food Authority standards, which could come into law this year, would remove the requirement for New Zealand ice-cream to contain at least 10 per cent milkfat.

Ms Kedgley, who will be speaking on the topic at a public meeting in Christchurch this evening, said the revelations that ice cream could in future contain chicken fat, lard or beef dripping had further eroded consumer confidence in the safety and consistency of the food they eat.

Advice from ANZFA officials to examine labels to discover whether ice cream, in future, contains fat from animal and vegetable sources other than milk, ignores the fact that much of the ice cream sold in New Zealand is unpackaged, she said.

"New Zealanders want to be sure that when they buy an ice cream at the beach, they are eating a wholesome, vegetarian product. Ice cream implies in its name a product that contains ice and cream, not ice and sugar mixed with a variety of animal and vegetable fats."

"It seems bizarre that ANZFA officials would go against the unanimous recommendations of the entire ice cream industry in Australia and New Zealand, and all the submissions made to ANZFA, to impose a standard that neither consumers nor the industry wants."

Ms Kedgley said that the addition of chicken fat to ice cream would be of particular concern, since residues of any antibiotics routinely fed to chickens and of pesticides ingested in their food tended to accumulate in body fat, and could remain in the ice cream. "In countries like England where there is no basic standard for ice cream, a variety of fats have been used in ice cream, including whale fat in the 1970s, and there is a general perception that ice cream there is of a lower standard than New Zealand ice cream," she said. "The concern remains that manufacturers seeking to cut costs here could put questionable animal and other vegetable fats into ice cream if these standards are introduced."

ENDS

Sue Kedgley MP: (04) 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289


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