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Concern Over Nestle-Fonterra Alliance

27 March 2002


Concern That Nestle-Fonterra Alliance May Not Be Good News For Consumers Or Farmers

Consumers are concerned that a recently-announced business alliance to produce and market milk products throughout the Americas may limit choice for consumers
wanting to avoid GE-dairy products and push some American farmers into poverty.

Nestle's global policy to back genetically modified foods has required international consumer campaigns to pressure them to withdraw GE ingredients in many countries. But their support for the controversial technology must raise doubts, when Fonterra have also been backing the push for GE research into modifying cows and animal feed in New Zealand.

"Nestle's historic problems pushing milk-powder to breast-feeding mothers may be eclipsed with the ongoing battle over GM food. Nestle's refusal to act quickly in support of clear consumer demand for GE-free products has been a major concern.", said
Consumer researcher Jon Carapiet, who has worked with Nestle, and is also a spokesman for GE-Free NZ ( Food and Environment).
"There is a need for corporate responsibility and Nestle should make a public statement that they will not use their market dominance to deny consumers the right to choose GE-free dairy foods."

Farmers may also not all benefit from the new deal. Last year South American farmers pelted a New Zealand Minister with eggs in a protest against our government backing trade moves that support the push from companies like Nestle at the expense of local farmers.

" Trade NZ did not publicise the protest widely , but clearly having our ministers pelted with eggs when they are representing New Zealand overseas is not a good look for our image."

" It is not just South American farmers who may be harmed either. Even New Zealand farmers may discover as time goes on that there are no increased exports from New Zealand , and that most of the milk is in fact sourced from our 'competitor' countries."

ENDS

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