Solid rejection

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2003

One of New Zealand's biggest food companies, Goodman Fielder, has decided to exclude all genetically modified (gm) ingredients, including animal feed, from its products. New Zealand Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel says the company's new policy is a victory for the New Zealand consumer. As the single biggest user and distributor of canola oil in Australasia, Goodman's non-gm stance is a significant blow to the market prospects of gm canola in the region.

The pragmatic economics of retailing could be behind this decision. A month ago, New Zealand's largest supermarket chain -- Foodstuffs -- announced that it would not allow products with gm ingredients on its shelves. This decision itself was taken in the wake of Foodstuffs' major competitor, Progressive, announcing a non-gm ingredient policy for its brand products. Nevertheless, this is the third time since October -- when the New Zealand government lifted its ban on gm crops, despite wide public outcry -- that a huge snook has been cocked at the New Zealand government.

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