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Food Giants Reject GE

Auckland, Monday 13 May: Much of the market place is now free of genetic engineering, because some of the largest food companies in New Zealand have taken steps to remove GE from their products.

“The few companies remaining in the red section of the GE Free Food Guide are being left behind,” said Annette Cotter, GE campaigner for Greenpeace.

“The writing is on the wall for GE, an unnecessary technology that nobody wants to eat.

“Most companies have listened to their customers’ calls for GE free food and have acted accordingly.”

Company positions on GE will be released in full in the third edition of the GE Free Food Guide, due out tomorrow. Since the first edition, in December 2000, of the guide, most of the largest food producers have shifted to sourcing ingredients that are non GE, and have also ensured that their animal products are not from animals fed GE feed.

Some of the major shifts in the new GE Free Food Guide include:

Unilever Australasia stated that they have ‘worked to eliminate genetically modified crop derived ingredients, through substitution, sourcing from areas where non-genetically modified crops are grown and IP [identity preservation] systems’

Heinz Wattie’s confirmed that ‘over the past three years we have investigated the source of all of our ingredients and reformulated, where necessary, our product range to eliminate GM content. As part of this investigation the issue of GM feed has been considered and the same criteria applied’

Tegel and their feed distribution company NRM have confirmed that they have no GE in their food or feed. NRM distributes 230,000 tonnes annually of maize, wheat and soymeal, and are the largest feed company in NZ

Arnotts have moved from the red category to green with their declaration that all their products are non GE.

Other companies are in the process of sourcing non GE ingredients, and have made a commitment to remove GE from their food and animal products

Cerebos Greggs ‘have identified a small number of ingredients, which are derived from genetically modified ingredients or produced using the assistance of gene technology…These products are exempt from labelling, however our food technologists are currently replacing these food ingredients with non-genetically modified alternatives…’

Greenpeace will be distributing the guide via its website http://www.gefreefood.org.nz and handing out copies of the guide around Auckland tomorrow (details to follow).

The GE Free Food Guide outlines company positions on genetic engineering. The companies are colour coded according to their policy on the use of GE ingredients, and derivatives.

The green category is companies that are not using GE originated plant and animal ingredients. This includes a policy of no GE animal feed. This criteria goes beyond the labelling regulations (ANZFA). Also included are certified organic products - the best guarantee of GE free.

Companies who have committed to removing GE originated plant and animal ingredients and are in the process of doing so are classified as orange.

The red category is companies that have no clear policy of removing GE originated ingredients. This category can include companies that did not respond adequately to our enquiries.

Contact: Annette Cotter 021 565 175 or Brendan Lynch 021 790 817

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