Auckland, Wednesday 11 June 2003: Inghams recent claims that their chicken products are GE free are contradicted by a new Greenpeace commissioned AgriQuality test today (1) showing that soy meal from the Aussie poultry and feed company contains 85% Monsanto genetically engineered Roundup Ready beans.
“These latest tests confirm major GE contamination in Inghams/Harvey Farms soy feed and reveal just how misleading their GE free claims have been,” said Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel.
General manager Mike Rozen of Inghams Enterprises (of which Harvey Farms is a subsidiary) was reported last week as claiming that the company's chicken, coatings and marinades were GE-free, following an earlier test revealing GE contamination in one of Inghams frozen chicken products.
The Food Safety Authority was reported as suggesting that the contamination of the frozen food product may have been accidental and pointed out that there is a 1% allowable level of accidental GE contamination in an ingredient before a product has to be labelled as containing GE ingredients.
“Some of Inghams ingredients may have accidental GE contamination but 85% GE contamination in the soy feed is no accident,” said Abel.
“Because our labelling laws are so slack, it is legal for Inghams to have a no GE label on their chicken even while they are feeding them 85% GE soy,” said Abel. “But from an honest trading point of view claiming your chicken is GE free to the public while feeding it GE soy is downright deceitful.”
“Ingham import thousands of tonnes of soy every year for animal feed and supply feed to the dairy and pork industry too - that is their core business. The relative quantity of coatings and marinades they use would be miniscule,” said Abel.
“Greenpeace hasn’t seen any documentation to back up Inghams’ GE free marinades claim, but if they are sourcing GE free marinades that’s a start. However if Inghams are serious about meeting consumer preference for GE free food (2) they’ve got to get rid of the GE ingredients from their soy meal,” said Abel.
Today is the first day of the Waikato Ag Field Days, when farmers order feed for the coming season. Inghams subsidiary Harvey Farms will be selling GE contaminated feed in competition with the other major feed supplier NRM – who use certified non-GE crops in their feed.
For further information contact Greenpeace Campaigner Steve Abel – 021 565 175; Greenpeace Campaign Manager Glyn Walters – 021 772 661.
(1) Roundup Ready soy DNA content, in relation to the total soy DNA of this [Inghams] sample, is 85% (+/- 10%), AgriQuality, 10 June 2003. Full results can be viewed at: http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/campaigns/ge
(2) Independent research done for Tegel found that 75% of consumers wanted chickens that had not been fed GE soy meal, NZ Herald, 29 August 2001.