17 Oct 2012

Dairy exporters happy with GE content of feed

10:09 am on 17 October 2012

Dairy New Zealand says it has no issues with the amount of genetically-engineered stock feed being imported into the country.

GE Free New Zealand has questioned the amount of GE cotton seed, soybean and canola being fed to dairy cows as supplements.

It says as much as 100,000 tonnes of GE soybean is imported annually and wants the dairy sector to investigate how much GE feed is being distributed to its herds.

But Dairy NZ spokesman Bruce Thorrold says the amount is tiny when compared to the total quantity of supplementary feed that dairy cows are consuming.

Fonterra says it too is satisfied with the levels of GE feed and its research director Jeremy Hill says supplementary feed is a small part of the overall diet of dairy cows.

He says the possibility of some cows being fed GE supplements does not impact on the status of the milk, nor does it require a change to the labelling requirements of that milk under New Zealand, Australian and European Union regulations.

Those regulations exclude GE feed from the requirement to label a food as being produced using gene technology based on safety assessments.