Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


GE cows threaten NZ food supply

GE cows threaten NZ food supply

An Agresearch proposal for a commercial joint venture production of lactoferrin could see the left over GE milk products sold to New Zealanders, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons warned today.

"The lactoferrin extracted from the milk will be only a tiny part - maybe a thousandth - of the total volume. Which begs the question: 'What does the company plan to do with the rest? Is it planning to introduce the rest of its GE milk into the public food supply?"

Left over milk from the Ruakura research GE cows currently has to be disposed of on site, but the quantities produced in a commercial operation will be much larger

"Surely Agresearch doesn't need to be reminded that the New Zealand public remains adamantly opposed to consuming GE milk products. Fonterra will not touch anything GE so Agresearch would have to create a whole new marketing organisation, or find a way to dispose of large amounts of GE milk and get approval for that disposal," Ms Fitzsimons said.

The proposal raises many other questions that need answering.

- New Zealand is already the largest world producer of natural lactoferrin from cows' milk. What is wrong with the current product? What evidence is there that human-style lactoferrin from GE cows would be any better?

- It appears that Agresearch will be competing with Fonterra and attempting to undercut its market for natural lactoferrin. Is this an economic benefit for New Zealand? Are CRIs not supposed to add value to our primary industries instead of competing with them?

- The company claims it has done "extensive testing". Will all the data from these tests be released for public scrutiny before the products are approved for human consumption? Or will they be suppressed as "commercially confidential" as so much GE food data has been?

- The main opportunity for growth in the international market for lactoferrin is as a health food supplement. If there are no great problems with natural lactoferrin, what is the likelihood of persuading health-conscious consumers to accept a more expensive GE product instead?

- How many GE cows will be needed? It seems unlikely that Agresearch will be able to produce enough milk to satisfy a $100 million international market from the small number of cows it can keep in its Ruakura containment facility. Will Agresearch have to apply for commercial GE release to raise that many cows? That would make it the first application in New Zealand and will raise huge public debate.

"This proposal flies in the face of the recommendation of the royal commission on GM that food animals and plants should not be used to produce pharmaceuticals," Ms Fitzsimons said. "The Government has consistently refused to accept this recommendation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news