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Fonterra Responds The Sustainability Council

Wednesday 3 July, 2002

The Chief Executive of Fonterra Co-operative Group, Craig Norgate has responded to the Sustainability Council of New Zealand on issues related to extending the moratorium on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

"Fonterra has consistently supported a case by case approach to GMO release. Fonterra agrees with the Government's statement today that this is the best way to address the concerns raised by the newly established Sustainability Council of New Zealand," said Mr Norgate.

"This cautious approach will allow New Zealand to gain the necessary knowledge and skill to protect our environment. A blanket ban merely inhibits New Zealand's ability to develop New Zealand-specific expertise in this important area of technology.

"A five year extension of the moratorium as proposed by the Sustainability Council is not in keeping with the commonsense approach of the Royal Commission on GM.

"It would put our continued investment in biotechnology in New Zealand at great risk and create a destablising environment of uncertainty for New Zealand's business and science community.

"It is essential that we retain the option of commercialising developments in biotechnology in a responsible way according to the needs and wishes of our customers globally."

Mr Norgate also commented on the suggestion that lifting the moratorium will create risks for trade.

"It is quite clear to us that conventional GM and organic agricultural systems can exist together harmoniously. They do so in the USA, Canada and Australia and they can do so in New Zealand.

"Yesterday's news release of Fonterra's move into marketing organic dairy products is practical proof of our firmly held view that these systems can sit well together."

END


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