McDonald's backs down on GE in New Zealand.
Our GE campaigner Steve Abel in New Zealand stated that:
"McDonald's has given us a position statement consistent with the
stance the company has taken in Europe which urges its chicken
suppliers to source non genetically engineered (GE) soya feed, and
we understand that is due to happen for the immediate future."
"Inghams (which supplies McDonald's its poultry) has stated to
McDonald's that their next two shipments of soya meal into New
Zealand are to be sourced from a non-GE contaminated region of
Brazil. We will be keeping a close eye on these shipments and
seeking independent testing of the soy to demonstrate its non-GE
purity. And we will continue to campaign for an ongoing commitment
from Inghams to source non-GE feed."
Activists in New Zealand undertook a four-week public campaign
which targeted McDonald's stores throughout the country with
chicken-suited activists and a Ronald McDonald look-alike who
staged a mock resignation. The clown was later arrested for
blockading the 'golden arch' gates of McDonald's Wiri Distribution
Centre. The campaign urged McDonald's to take a position on GE
"While the campaign has been humorous and good-natured, the
issue itself is a serious environmental one," says Abel. "GE crops
have led to an increase in herbicide use, lower yields, weed
problems and contamination of conventional and organic crops."
already been proactive in sourcing non-GE derived ingredients for
their products over the last three years. "We commend McDonald's
for its efforts to date in ensuring the food ingredients it serves
are non-GE derived.
And now, for McDonald's to request that its chicken supplier
seek a non-GE feed supply is more good news for both the
environment and for the public's GE-free food preference.
McDonald's has listened and responded positively to Greenpeace and
the public," said Abel.
Inghams however is not prepared to make a public statement and
will continue to import GE contaminated soya to Australia due to
claimed difficulties with the Brazilian port where the non- GE soya
commit to sourcing non-GE soya for the longer term but it has told
McDonald's that its next two shipments to New Zealand are non-GE,
which is a good start. However we will certainly keep up the
pressure for Inghams to commit to an ongoing and trans-Tasman
non-GE soya supply," said Abel.
New Zealand's largest poultry producer, Tegel, has been sourcing
a high standard Identity Preserved (IP) supply of non-GE soya from
the US since 2001. This comes at a premium of up to US$30 dollars
per tonne. Inghams is apparently not prepared to pay this premium
for the non-GE US supply so has sought less costly, non-GE
Watch and keep GE food out of the supermarkets.