Recently formed New Zealand dairy processor and marketer Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd wholeheartedly supports the use of genetic modified organisms (GMOs) and stressed this week that it must be allowed in New Zealand, Industry Search reports this week.
"Fonterra must be allowed to conduct research in New Zealand in a responsible manner. We simply must have the ability to make sensible choices about the commercial application of genetically modified organisms in the future," Fonterra chief executive Craig Norgate said in a statement.
A New Zealand government-ordered inquiry into genetic modification recommended in June a loosening of curbs on low-risk GMOs. A moratorium on new applications to field trial or release GM organisms, put in place last year by the science and business community, has been extended until the end of October with a final government response to the inquiry due in November.
The Green Party, on whose seven MPs the government relies on for the confidence of parliament, is campaigning strongly for a long-term moratorium and the promotion of New Zealand as GMO-free.
The dairy industry earns more than 20 per cent of New Zealand's export receipts and generates around seven per cent of GDP. Food products make up around 42 per cent of New Zealand's $NZ 31.5 billion of annual exports.
Norgate stressed,"Closing off any, even for a short period, sends a disturbing message to the scientific community and investors in biosciences,"
"Should the moratorium be extended, it would be impossible for us to remain competitive with developments in genetic modification without moving our research operations offshore."