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Tegel goes GM free

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Tegel goes GM free

Tegel, New Zealand's largest poultry company, has announced that its chickens will soon be fed with feed sourced entirely from non-genetically modified crops.

Like other large NZ chicken producers, Tegel's feed has until now included soymeal which contained a proportion of meal from GM soybeans. The company recently reached an agreement with a US based feed supplier which will ensure a continual supply of soymeal sourced from non-GM crops.

Tegel chickens have never been genetically engineered and this agreement means that all Tegel chickens will soon be eating feed sourced entirely from non-GM crops.

Tegel MD, Peter Lucas says the decision was made in response to consumer concerns about GMOs and is consistent with Heinz worldwide policy. "Consumers in New Zealand have voiced their fears to us and we have been able to respond to these worries in a practical way. Consumer research that we carried out showed that almost 60% of consumers were concerned about New Zealand chicken being fed from GM crops and over 75% would prefer their chicken not to be fed GE feed."

Mr Lucas said the decision was one they had been working towards for some time. "Up to now, however, we have been unable to find a reliable source of soya from non-GM crops. It has taken time to find a reliable supplier and to ensure a consistent supply of product to meet our needs".

"There are always concerns when you haven't worked with a supplier before so we are working with our existing American supplier to establish a system which will assure supplies from non-GM soya crops. Our priority is that we have an ongoing and consistent feed supply that is of premium quality."

Mr Lucas said there are no known problems with chicken meat. "While our best advice is that the GM soya has no effect on chicken meat at all, our consumers have expressed their concerns, including the possible environmental effects of the large scale farming of GM crops, and we have responded accordingly."

The response to the move from Tegel's key customers has been extremely positive. Mr Lucas said that KFC, one of Tegel's largest customers, and the grocery trade have been very supportive.

The aim is to start feeding all Tegel chicken soya from non-GM crops in October this year so that by Christmas all fresh Tegel chickens sold will only have been fed on feed sourced from non-GM crops.

Tegel as New Zealand's leading poultry supplier is delighted to be taking this initiative that is preferred by 75% of consumers.

Ends

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