September 24, 2003



New Zealand Should Not Fully Embrace GMOs Yet


New Zealand should delay the commercial usage of generically engineered crops or its "clean, green image" might be at stake, results from a recent survey said.


A survey of 17 major European food distributors conducted by the Otago University showed that it was in the interest of New Zealand¡¯s image that the commercial release of GM crops and animals be delayed, until European acceptance of such foods increase.


The survey was designed to assess whether the commercial release of GE organisms would damage New Zealand's "clean, green" image and affect demand for its food products, such as fruit and vegetables, in export markets.


New Zealand has suspended the use of GM crops for two years, with an expiry to the suspension ending 29 October.


Although the survey found that GM crops grown in the country do not incur negative feedback about its food, the reputations of certain agri-products like lamb are more susceptible to being tarnished. New Zealand lamb finds it biggest export market in the EU, which accounts for 53% of all of New Zealand's meat exports.


The report also found low acceptance for meat and dairy originating from genetically modified farm animals.