World Food Day is about world hunger not food company attacks

Press Release 16/10/2011

Political activists using World Food Day to revisitNew Zealand’s already clear and stringent GM labelling laws seem to have completely missed the point of the worthy FAO and United Nations initiative, says Katherine Rich Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council (FGC).

“The World Food Day marked each year on October 16 is meant to be a day which focuses on how the world can feed our growing number of citizens. In particular, it's to mark the importance of world food production and its role in alleviating world hunger.

“The international organisers of World Food Day say “the aim of the day is to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world.”

“I’m sure they’d be disappointed to see the message of the day being hijacked and used inNew Zealandas a political platform to attack food companies and our retail partners, the supermarkets, both of which play such an important part in feeding local communities.

“The focus of the day is an important one. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 the world will have 9 billion mouths to feed and that to feed them all world food production will need to double. It’s an ambitious task and this is one of the key issues World Food Day is trying to draw attention to.

“World Food Day has got nothing to do withNew Zealand’s labelling laws or where GM products might sit on a supermarket shelf.

“When activists once again call for GM products to be singled out, they don’t seem to appreciate that they already are singled out because of stringent Australian and New Zealand GM labelling laws.

“In reality GM products inNew Zealandare scarcer than hen’s teeth. Out of the tens of thousands of food products sold inNew ZealandI can think of only one obscure ethnic market product containing GM and it's correctly labelled so that shoppers can make a choice.

"Activists keep trying to make the very same maize product the poster child of the GM debate, but it’s so obscure I’ve never actually seen it on any shelf.

“Let's get back to the focus of the day. World Food Day organisers want the day to mark the importance of world food production and its role in alleviating world hunger. That’s a worthier topic than derailing the intent of the day and using it to attack food companies and their retail partners,” Mrs Rich said.