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Campaign Group Makes Waves over 'GM-Free' Claim

by 5m Editor
18 May 2009, at 8:41am

NEW ZEALAND - Anti-genetic engineering campaigning group, GE-Free New Zealand, is warning consumers that chicken marketed by an Australian poultry company as free of genetic modification (GM) may have eaten feed containing GM ingredients.

The campaign group says that consumers may be being duped by the TV campaign by Inghams claiming their chickens have 'no added hormones or GM ingredients'.

GE-Free New Zealand says that now a formal complaint has been made over the Inghams' advertising campaign because the chickens may have been fed with GM soy.

Inghams claims this makes no difference to the chicken.

GE-Free New Zealand believes that the company is misleading consumers into believing the company has a GM free policy when it is endorsing GM feed for their chickens.

"Consumers hearing a claim 'no GM ingredients' will reasonably assume the company's policy is as far as possible to be 'GE-Free' notwithstanding accidental contamination that some governments overseas allow," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ.

"But consumers will be right to feel betrayed on discovering that Inghams endorse the use of GE feed to produce the chicken itself. It is misleading for Inghams to crow that the added ingredients are not GM but fail to mention the chicken itself may be fed GM grain and the meat would very probably contain GE DNA!"

GE-Free New Zealand alleges that there are two substantial facts that make Inghams claims misleading:

  1. Scientific studies show GE feed can have a significant impact on the organism consuming the GE crop, including on fertility, and the implications demand scientific investigation. This is denied by Inghams in its on-line policy statement, and
  2. Consumers choosing to support companies with a GM-free policy may be willing to accept small levels of accidental GM contamination, but would certainly not expect a company making a claim of 'no added GM ingredients' to use GM feed.

While the Inghams advertising has been the subject of formal complaint to the Commerce Commission, as yet there has been no review under the Fair Trading act and no action taken. The advertising continues on-air.