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Europeans say 'non!' to GE food

Europeans say 'non!' to GE food

Green MP Sue Kedgley is giving a welcoming kiss on both cheeks, European-style, to a new survey showing that at least half of all Europeans won't eat GE food.

"That's a lot of consumers and importers," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Consumer Affairs and Food Safety spokesperson.

The latest Eurobarometer poll, the fifth in a series since 1991 on genetic engineering and the so-called 'life sciences', shows that European consumer attitudes towards GE food are hardening.

"This is bad news for New Zealand farmers and companies wanting to grow GE food for export to Europe. It's time that both they and our Government faced up to the reality that there is no market for GE food."

"Fortunately these survey results have become available before the New Zealand Government commits our country to the GE path, from which there will be no return. In light of this vital piece of market research, the Government must reconsider its decision to lift the moratorium on the commercial release of GE in October, or we might as well consign a large portion of our exports to the trashcan.

"Obviously consumers in Europe won't want any GE food we produce, any more than our own consumers want it," Ms Kedgley said. "If the Government won't listen to New Zealand consumers, maybe it will listen to consumers in our export markets."

The survey shows that while consumers in most European Union countries are prepared to support genetic technology in medicine products, they are not interested in GE food. They judge it to be of little use to them, and to be risky for society, particularly in terms of food safety.

The poll shows confidence in GE food continuing to decline in the Netherlands, France and Italy. In Greece, only 24 per cent of consumers are prepared to eat GE food, with only a slightly higher percentage in France.


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