Ireland could become a GM-free producer

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Tom Shipsey, CEO of Stonehouse, thanked Jim Barry and all in Barrys for their "great dedication to Stonehouse"

With most of Ireland's poultry already GM-free, high profile campaigners such as chefs Richard Corrigan and Darina Allen, are pressing for Ireland to become a GM-free zone.

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Brand Central

11 December 2009 | 0

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Ireland has the potential to become the most credible GM-free food brand in Europe, according to a group which includes chefs Richard Corrigan and Darina Allen. Promises in the Programme for Government to “declare the Republic of Ireland a GM-free zone, free from the cultivation of all GM plants,” alongside the introduction of a voluntary GM-free food label, were welcomed by the group at a press conference last month.

According to Michael O’Callaghan of GM-free Ireland, most of Ireland’s poultry and some of its pork and farmed salmon is already GM-free, although currently unlabelled as such. “This lead start, along with our world-class beef traceability system, GM-free island status, geographical isolation from contamination by GM pollen, unpolluted topsoil, and clean green image, provides a big, untapped competitive advantage for us,” said O’Callaghan.

His views were shared by Evan Doyle, representing The Organic Trust and Euro-Toques Ireland’s 200 chefs, who personally believes GM-free labelling should be taken a step further and made compulsory.

The Government, however, still plans to allow the use of imported GM animal feed. What is more, it has been reported that farmers are reluctant to pay an extra approx €40 per tonne of non-GM feed.

While the conference was not supported by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), this argument was countered by Malcolm Doyle, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association (ICSA). According to Doyle, consumer demand for GM-free foods will ensure that “when a premium is seen and becomes a reality, it will stimulate the market.”

 

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