Note to editors -- MADGE Billboard Claims/Fonterra
We would like to draw to your urgent attention inaccurate reporting of MADGE's billboard campaign and related media statements by MADGE that Fonterra is using human DNA in genetic research.
The following statement issued by ViaLactia on Wednesday, October 1, clearly refuted these claims. ViaLactia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fonterra, stated categorically that no human DNA was involved its in research.
MADGE is continuing to ignore this denial as it promotes its billboard campaign. We would ask that all Editors please note the statement issued by ViaLactia and report the facts relating to this research. MADGE is making no secret that its billboard campaign is designed to shock the public. We ask that Editors observe careful balance and check all facts in their reporting of MADGE public statements.
Gareth Johnstone Fonterra
For Immediate Release
1 October 2003
ViaLactia Rejects MADGE Claims
ViaLactia has rejected claims by MADGE that it has purchased patent rights to human DNA from an Australian genetics company.
"ViaLactia is not using human DNA in research," said Dr Colin South, Chief Executive of ViaLactia.
"This claim that we are sourcing and using human DNA or genetic material in our pastoral research is totally without foundation."
"Genetic Technologies Pty Limited and ViaLactia recently agreed terms over the use of gene technologies in research. The license allows ViaLactia to continue to use information derived from the DNA of animals and plants."
Dr South said ViaLactia had purchased the right to the animal and plant code sequences which had nothing to do with human DNA or genetic material. "We are using this non-sequencing code - often referred to as junk DNA -- as a map to try to discover inheritable traits in animals and plants which may benefit pastoral agriculture production."