By Jon Muller, GE Free NZ
New Zealand risks missing out on the trillion dollar market for halal foods unless the government establishes nationwide protectiion of our GM-free status.
The New Zealand and the Global Halal Economy conference at The University of Auckland Business School highlights the opportunity for greater participation in the growing market for halal foods.
But government policy aimed at promoting use of new organisms including GMOs, and trade deals made under the TPPA , could destroy this opportunity by not respecting the important cultural values around food.
"Keeping New Zealand GMO-free is vital for exports to the growing markets of Asia," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free New Zealand in food and environment.
"Halal certification like that for other systems, is about purity and a secure process based on values, spirituality and standards that do not allow GMO's. New Zealand producers need to be clean from farm to fork, including stopping use of any imported GM-feed for animals."
The global halal economy, worth an estimated US$2.3 trillion and growing at a rate of 20% per annum, encompasses meat and dairy, processed foods, financial services, logistics and lifestyle products.
The halal process is to be adhered at each level of production, including the feed that the livestock eats, the financing of the business, and the logistics process. To be considered halal meat, the Koran says animals should be treated with respect and well cared for.
New Zealand policy must respect the fact that technology has to fit with cultural values and global trends to ethical and sustainable production. GMOs have no place in the open environment or our food system, as recent declarations by Hawkes Bay Council show.
"All people deserve access to safe, GM-free food whatever their spiritual or cultural traditions," says Jon Carapiet. "It just so happens that New Zealand's future relies on delivering that promise."
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