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KFC "Kiwi For Cheapskates" over GE soy feed

Wed, 3 Nov 2004

KFC "Kiwi For Cheapskates" over GE soy feed

Auckland, Wednesday 3 November 2004: Greenpeace today launched a new campaign demanding that the icon of fast food chicken, KFC, commit to GE free chicken feed.

In the first of a wave of planned protests, Greenpeace activists clad in chicken suits gathered outside the KFC store in Otahuhu with banners and a giant model 2 cent coin portraying the low cost of feeding chickens on GE free soy.

Despite establishing a non-GE feed policy in 2001(1), KFC switched their poultry supplier earlier this year to Inghams. Inghams have been New Zealand's chief importer of genetically engineered (GE) crops (2), and KFC is by far their biggest customer.

The move to Inghams was reputedly taken in an attempt by KFC to cut costs on their flagging fried chicken business. But Greenpeace says KFC's reneging on their non-GE feed commitment is a bad decision – given the environmental risks of GE crops and the public's preference for non-GE fed chicken (3).

Inghams have recently imported shipments of non-GE soy from Brazil but have no commitment to continuing this, due to their unwillingness to pay the premium for non-GE soy.

"Any saving KFC think they are making on GE soy feed comes at the expense of the environment," said GE campaigner Steve Abel. "In the US and Argentina GE soy crops have lead to increased chemical use, lower yields, contamination of normal crops and created a raft of new weed problems."

The extra cost of feeding one whole chicken on non-GE soy is only around two cents (4). "For KFC, committing to GE-free would be literally chicken feed," said Mr Abel. "We are directly asking KFC customers if they mind paying the extra two cents for GE free feed and inviting them to send a message to KFC telling them not to be Kiwi For Cheapskates."

Without a demand from KFC for GE free, Inghams are likely to return to importing heavily GE contaminated soy meal from the US next year.

Contact; Greenpeace GE Campaigner Steve Abel 021 565 175 Greenpeace communications officer Suzette Jackson 021 577 556

(1) "Restaurant Brands (KFC) intends to continue working in partnership with its suppliers to eliminate, where economically feasible, any remaining GM material from all ingredients and animal feed by 1 December 2001" - Jim Collier, Restaurant Brands NZ Chief Executive's Report, 1 February 2001.

(2) Inghams import around 50,000 tonnes of soy meal annually predominantly for use as chicken feed. They have consistently sourced GE contaminated soy from the US since the commercialisation of GE crops in 1996. Inghams recently sourced their first shipments of non-GE soy from Brazil but have no commitment to securing an ongoing supply of non-GE soy.

(3) 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. Tegel, New Zealand's largest poultry company, have had an active non-GE feed policy since 2001 and were KFC's supplier until July 2004. Tegel import certified non-GE feed from the US and Brazil.

(4) It's Chicken-feed for GE free soy, Greenpeace, 29 October 2004, http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/pdf/nonGEFeedPremiumsNZ291004.pdf

Original Content KFC “Kiwi For Cheapskates” over GE soy feed

Auckland Wednesday 3 November 2004: Greenpeace today launched a new campaign demanding that the icon of fast food chicken, KFC, commit to GE free chicken feed.

In the first of a wave of planned protests, Greenpeace activists clad in chicken suits gathered outside the KFC store in Otahuhu with banners and a giant model 2 cent coin portraying the low cost of feeding chickens on GE free soy.

Despite establishing a non-GE feed policy in 2001(1), KFC switched their poultry supplier earlier this year to Inghams. Inghams have been New Zealand’s chief importer of genetically engineered (GE) crops (2), and KFC is by far their biggest customer.

The move to Inghams was reputedly taken in an attempt by KFC to cut costs on their flagging fried chicken business. But Greenpeace says KFC’s reneging on their non-GE feed commitment is a bad decision – given the environmental risks of GE crops and the public’s preference for non-GE fed chicken (3).

Inghams have recently imported shipments of non-GE soy from Brazil but have no commitment to continuing this, due to their unwillingness to pay the premium for non-GE soy.

“Any saving KFC think they are making on GE soy feed comes at the expense of the environment,” said GE campaigner Steve Abel. “In the US and Argentina GE soy crops have lead to increased chemical use, lower yields, contamination of normal crops and created a raft of new weed problems.”

The extra cost of feeding one whole chicken on non-GE soy is only around two cents (4). “For KFC, committing to GE-free would be literally chicken feed,” said Abel. “We are directly asking KFC customers if they mind paying the extra two cents for GE free feed and inviting them to send a message to KFC telling them not to be Kiwi For Cheapskates.”

Without a demand from KFC for GE free, Inghams are likely to return to importing heavily GE contaminated soy meal from the US next year.

Contact; Greenpeace GE Campaigner Steve Abel 021 565 175 Greenpeace communications officer Suzette Jackson 021 577 556

(1) “Restaurant Brands (KFC) intends to continue working in partnership with its suppliers to eliminate, where economically feasible, any remaining GM material from all ingredients and animal feed by 1 December 2001” – Jim Collier, Restaurant Brands NZ Chief Executive’s Report, 1 February 2001.

(2) Inghams import around 50,000 tonnes of soy meal annually predominantly for use as chicken feed. They have consistently sourced GE contaminated soy from the US since the commercialisation of GE crops in 1996. Inghams recently sourced their first shipments of non-GE soy from Brazil but have no commitment to securing an ongoing supply of non-GE soy.

(3) 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. Tegel, New Zealand’s largest poultry company, have had an active non-GE feed policy since 2001 and were KFC’s supplier until July 2004. Tegel import certified non-GE feed from the US and Brazil.

(4) It’s Chicken-feed for GE free soy, Greenpeace, 29 October 2004, http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/pdf/nonGEFeedPremiumsNZ291004.pdf

ENDS

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