> NZ KIWIFRUIT REJECTS GE
> In a move completely contrary to the rest of the NZ agricultural
> industry the NZ kiwifruit marketing board announced to day that it has
> no GE products presently for sale and that it will not be funding any GE
> research in the foreseeable future.
> Marketing the Zesperi brand of kiwifruit, the board has been influenced
> by the consumers, mostly the Japanese and Europeans who have told them
> clearly they can have access as long as they are GE free.
> In turn their company policy has been stated as
> " We want environmental integrity and food safety to become synonymous
> with the Zesperi brand and system."
> While the organic production is still only 2% of the industry, its
> influence is beginning to be felt. ( The 2:98 rule kicking in ) The NZ
> kiwifruit industry has already moved to reduce chemical imputs and has
> gone from some 28 chemical sprays a year to four or five, with a 5
> month chemical spray free period before harvest.
> The packhouse leading the organic movement, Centrepac has been eagerly
> mergered with a few times in as many years, as other industry players
> see their knowledge and experience is the way of the future.
> In contrast to this every other ag sector in NZ is actively exploring GE
> options, still believing it has a future. Even though a recent poll
> showed 60% of NZ consumers do not want GE food. Interestingly the NZ
> government has had the presence of mind to invest $100 million into GE
> research, while neglecting to find the time to implement any regulation
> or risk assessment policies whatsoever. It has been determined there is
> 56 GE organisms and approximately 70% of the food on our supermarket
> shelves with GE organisms in them, and the government is allowing
> another 14 months free access of untested and unregulated GE products on
> our market, because the GE industry did not get itself together to
> register their products by the May 13 deadline.
> So good on the kiwifruit marketing board for taking the initative and
> hopefully leading the rest of our producers into the future.
> Glen Atkinson.
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