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Fonterra Requests Investigation Of A2 Claims

Fonterra today said that it had asked the Commerce Commission and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to investigate what it believes to be misleading claims made by A2 Corporation.

Chief Technology Officer, Dr Chris Mallett, said A2 milk, despite being marketed as "Just A2", contains A1 protein.

"This is a straightforward case of misleading the consumer about a product that is fundamental to the shopping list of every family."

"A2 Corporation claims that A2 milk is from 'cows that only produce the A2 protein', and it contains 'only the A2 variety of the protein family known as beta casein'. However, small print on the back of the packaging states that the A2 milk could contain A1. It does, in fact, contain A1. "The confusion is further compounded in the case of 'Trim A2' milk, as it contains other non-A2 milk proteins not referred to in the labelling.

"Consumers have a right to receive accurate information about the composition of the milk they are buying, and that is why we have asked the Commerce Commission and NZFSA to investigate."

Dr Mallett said the misleading labelling came on top of many months of irresponsible claims by A2 Corporation about the health effects of milk. "They have only served to scare people unnecessarily, and may result in people removing milk from their diet to the detriment of their overall health and well-being.

"Fonterra, like every other producer of milk in the world, stands by the wholesomeness and nutritional value of milk.

"Fonterra agrees with statements by regulatory authorities, such as Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, who have consistently said that milk should 'continue to be regarded as a safe and nutritious component of the diet for most people'", Dr Mallett concluded.

New Zealand's Food Production Relies On Fertiliser Use

The importance of nutrient inputs in food production has been highlighted by two leading international organisations. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) last month released a statement emphasising the continued global need for fertiliser use. At a conference in Rome both organisations agreed fertilisers are vital to meeting global food needs.

New Zealand agriculture and horticulture relies on a good soil nutrient status to continue to meet local and international food production needs in the form of meat, milk, fruits, vegetables and other harvested crops. To continue to meet production demands, soil nutrient levels need to be maintained and their benefits maximised. Advocates of low input farming may not realise that lessened inputs create a problem that takes years to rectify.

Technical Director of Fert Research Dr Hilton Furness says the need to ensure nutrients are not mined and production is maintained in a sustainable way is vital to the long-term success of the local agricultural sector.

"It is not so much about lessening inputs but about appropriately matching the needs of the plants; crops and pasture and the land to the use of nutrients. As the FAO/IFA conference recommended, farmers need to be assisted in getting maximum benefit from fertiliser through improved management practices that include all sources of nutrients and the use of innovative technologies."

Research results from a study into reducing nitrate leaching, presented in 2001, showed that decreased nitrogen fertiliser use did not significantly impact on vegetable production yields, specifically on winter potato crops. The research concluded that there was no yield advantage in application of larger amounts at the time of planting and that smaller total quantities of nitrogen successfully produced harvests of similar yield.1

With an increase in horticultural and agricultural profitability the appropriate use of nutrients is increasingly important. Recent provisional agricultural census results show the importance of agriculture and horticulture to our national economy. For the year to June 2002, Lamb exports earned $2 billion, dairy products earned over $7 billion in export income and horticultural exports earned over $2 billion.2

Without the input of fertiliser these figures would be significantly reduced. Continued promotion of best practices and sustainable agriculture by the New Zealand fertiliser industry will ensure this is achieved in a responsible way.

"The industry is not advocating an increased use of fertiliser. Rather, it is important that people recognise its value and place in the food production process. The continued research investment and promotion of innovative nutrient management tools that the industry undertakes each year is key to this responsible nutrient management, by all responsible parties; farmers, growers, field staff, industry, farmer organisations, policy makers and government."

Damien O'Connor Presents Lean Meats Export Commendation,

I am delighted to be here today to present Lean Meats with a Trade New Zealand Export Award.This Export Award is in recognition of the company's outstanding export achievements.

The company was set up 15 years ago by a group of 100 entrepreneurial farmers in order to ensure they received the maximum value for their lambs in the international arena, in particular the USA. Today the company earns more than $20 million in export sales annually, with that figure continuing to grow steadily.

That's a marvellous result and a credit to everyone who has been involved in the ongoing development of this company.

Like many successful New Zealand export companies, you specialise in a specific niche in this case lamb food products.

Your strengths include the excellent quality of your chilled lamb products and your very strong customer focus this combination helps you to outsmart competitors.

From the outset Lean Meats followed a strategy of putting the customer first - finding out what they want and delivering it.

The US is by far your largest market. You have always had a presence in the market in order to get as close as possible to customers and potential customers from a two-person show in 1989 it now numbers more than 20 staff. Your policy is to sell directly to the end user the retailers and restaurateurs.

In the early days, in true Kiwi fashion, John and his wife found those initial customers by tramping the streets, knocking on doors and talking up the virtues of Lean Meats' chilled lamb. As those customers have consolidated and grown, so too has your business has grown.

The United States is not an easy market for a lamb exporter. American sheep flock is about 6.5 million compared with the New Zealand flock of 46 million sheep and each American eats less than 500 grams of lamb annually. That gives a great amount of room to grow but it also takes a lot of effort converting consumers onto lamb.

When Lean Meats wins business it doesn't sit on its laurels. You protect your market share fiercely. If a competitor is trying to muscle in on your business, you have systems in place to get you early warning and a plan of action.




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