Processed cheese-maker going GE-Free
29 August 2001
Green MP Sue Kedgley today welcomed a GE-Free commitment from Pastoral Foods, the makers of the processed cheese at the
centre of a GE controversy involving exports to Sri Lanka.
"Pastoral Foods have confirmed to the Green Party today that they are in the process of switching to GE-Free lecithin
sourced from Europe.
"They have assured me that by September, Pastoral Foods will be producing cheese with GE-Free lecithin and subsequently
New Zealand customers can be sure that this kind of cheese which is mainly used by burger chains will be GE-Free.
"I'm delighted that the company has listened to consumers both here and overseas, and changed their product accordingly.
I'm sure consumers will be relieved to hear of this move, and will recognise what consumer pressure can achieve."
Pastoral Foods produces mainly cheese slices, with 90-95 percent of its annual production of 25,000 tonnes going to the
export market. Around 20,000 cartons of its cheese go to the New Zealand burger market each year. Lecithin in the cheese
stops the slices from sticking together.
Ms Kedgley said the Dairy Board should take a lesson from Pastoral Foods, a company which is owned by the Dairy Board,
in listening to their customers and facing up to the hard issues.
"When Dairy Board spokesperson Neville Martin was interviewed on National Radio this morning, he tried to wash his hands
of New Zealand consumers, saying the Dairy Board 'doesn't operate in New Zealand at all'.
"He failed to mention that the Dairy Board is in fact the owner of Pastoral Foods, the company which produces this type
of processed cheese for both New Zealand and the overseas markets. He also mentioned nothing about the move by Pastoral
Foods to source GE-Free lecithin."
Ms Kedgley said the Dairy Board should stop being evasive, own up to their responsibilities and recognise that consumers
here and overseas don't want GE dairy products."