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3-Food: Northern Ireland dairy farmers warned over GM feed

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Dairy farmers warned over GM feed
SOURCE: Press Association
DATE:   Aug 25, 2005

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Dairy farmers warned over GM feed

Northern Ireland dairy farmers were today warned their industry could
suffer if genetically modified feed is allowed into the country. By:Press

Sinn Fein agriculture spokesperson Michelle Gildernew called on the
farming industry to vigorously oppose moves to introduce genetically
modified feed through an EU loophole and voiced concerns about the effect
on milk quality and consumer reaction if it is fed to herds.

"The reality is that there is a very real risk of contamination of the
food chain," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said.

"Across Ireland and throughout Europe consumers have consistently
rejected food that is genetically modified. The result is that there are
very few GM labelled products on the market. Indeed many companies make a
point of labelling food GM free.

"However, there is a loophole in EU labelling regulations. Milk, eggs,
meat and other animal-derived foodstuffs do not need to be labelled if
the animals were fed GM foodstuffs.

"The majority GM maize grown in Europe is used as animal feed, meaning
that consumers could unknowingly consume GM derived products, such as milk.

"Through advertising their products as pure and natural, they are
misleading their consumers as their products risk being contaminated from
the GM crops grown by their dairy farmers."

Ms Gildernew noted in Switzerland and Sweden, food manufacturers had
ensured that GM animal feed was not used there.

In Austria, she also reported one large dairy company, NOEM AG, ensured
its entire range of fresh milk products were GM free.

"Despite the debate about Monsanto`s GM maize (MON 810) still ongoing,
the European Commission gave approval for the GM maize to be grown in the
EU in 2004," she said.

"As a result Austria, Greece, Hungary and Poland all have banned the
maize. This is currently the only GM plant permitted to be grown
throughout the EU although other GM maize and GE soya varieties,
cultivated outside the EU, are authorised for import as animal feed.

"Sinn Fein believe that the milk industry, as well as those producing
eggs and other livestock for the market, needs to take a stand on this
issue and take steps to ensure that it is not using GM meal feed.

"There is a valuable competitive edge to be gained in producing foods for
market that are genuinely GM free.

"We will also be working to ensure that the legal loophole that allows
for the introduction of GM products into our food chain is closed."


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