Greenpeace today sent a clear message to Carol Mosley-Braun, the American Ambassador to New Zealand and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials, that Kiwis do not want to eat genetically engineered food. The message was delivered by Greenpeace activists at the Heritage Hotel, site of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) International Food Safety Conference.
“We are concerned that the United States is putting pressure on New Zealand food bodies to accept genetically engineered foods,” said Annette Cotter, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering campaigner. “Already Carol Mosley-Braun has made threats about the trade restrictions we might face if New Zealanders exercise their right to know what they are eating.”
Ms Mosley-Braun stated at the Federated Farmers National Council Conference that the United States is concerned strict mandatory labelling of products containing genetically modified foods might lead to unnecessary trade restrictions and would add costs to consumers and companies (1).
“The United States is finding it hard to sell their GE products because of the global consumer backlash against genetic engineering. European demand for United States produce has been steadily dropping, as consumer rejection has increased,” said Ms Cotter. “Threats of trade restrictions are an attempt to generate acceptance at government and business levels – however consumers are saying that they don’t want to eat it.”
US soy exports to Europe dropped from $2.1 billion in 1996 to $1.1 billion in 1999 (2). “We do not want to be the recipient of genetically engineered foods that have been rejected by Europe and parts of South America,” said Ms Cotter.
“When we took a nuclear free stance, we didn’t allow the United States to bully us. Our potential GE free stance shouldn’t be influenced by the United States either,” said Ms Cotter.
For further information,
contact Annette Cotter on 09 630 6317 or 025 927 301
Chris Hay on site 025 272 4044
Sue Connor Greenpeace Office contact 021 213 5603 or 09 630 6317