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Processed cheese-maker going GE-Free

Processed cheese-maker going GE-Free

29 August 2001

Green MP Sue Kedgley today welcomed a GE-Free commitment from Pastoral Foods, the makers of the processed cheese at the centre of a GE controversy involving exports to Sri Lanka.

"Pastoral Foods have confirmed to the Green Party today that they are in the process of switching to GE-Free lecithin sourced from Europe.

"They have assured me that by September, Pastoral Foods will be producing cheese with GE-Free lecithin and subsequently New Zealand customers can be sure that this kind of cheese which is mainly used by burger chains will be GE-Free.

"I'm delighted that the company has listened to consumers both here and overseas, and changed their product accordingly. I'm sure consumers will be relieved to hear of this move, and will recognise what consumer pressure can achieve."

Pastoral Foods produces mainly cheese slices, with 90-95 percent of its annual production of 25,000 tonnes going to the export market. Around 20,000 cartons of its cheese go to the New Zealand burger market each year. Lecithin in the cheese stops the slices from sticking together.

Ms Kedgley said the Dairy Board should take a lesson from Pastoral Foods, a company which is owned by the Dairy Board, in listening to their customers and facing up to the hard issues.

"When Dairy Board spokesperson Neville Martin was interviewed on National Radio this morning, he tried to wash his hands of New Zealand consumers, saying the Dairy Board 'doesn't operate in New Zealand at all'.

"He failed to mention that the Dairy Board is in fact the owner of Pastoral Foods, the company which produces this type of processed cheese for both New Zealand and the overseas markets. He also mentioned nothing about the move by Pastoral Foods to source GE-Free lecithin."

Ms Kedgley said the Dairy Board should stop being evasive, own up to their responsibilities and recognise that consumers here and overseas don't want GE dairy products."

ENDS


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