My farming colleagues and I are delighted that Whangarei District Council's excellent GE/GMO plan change (banning any release of GMOs and putting in place strict liability provisions for any EPA-approved outdoor GE experiment) recently became operative.

Well done WDC and FNDC, and everyone who made submissions supporting this great initiative. Both councils wisely undertook a fiscally responsible, collaborative GE/GMO plan change a couple of years ago, in order to protect ratepayers and the environment from the risks of outdoor use of GMOs.

This was necessary given serious deficiencies in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, including inadequate liability provisions and no mandatory requirement for the EPA to take a precautionary approach to outdoor use of GMOs.

However, as a consumer, I was not impressed to learn of Air NZ's recent ill-advised decision to serve (on flights from LA to Auckland) a controversial new synthetic, low-quality food that has not even been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as safe to eat.

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We're talking about the so-called 'Impossible Burger'. This is not (putting to one side the calculated, misleading hype) a nourishing, quality vegetarian product produced in a sustainable way.

This is a genetically-engineered, fake American product of highly dubious origin whose disgusting ingredients include: water, protein powders, glues, factory flavourings, flavour enhancers, synthetic vitamins — all clear indicators of low-grade, ultra-processed food — and soy leghemoglobin (SLH).

A little research reveals that SLH is a vat-grown, genetically-engineered form of the heme iron found in the root nodules of soybean plants that has no proven track record of safety.

We're told that SLH gives the fake meat a "bloody" meat-like taste and flavour. Yeah right. Even the (normally lax) US Food and Drug Administration's stated position on the Impossible Burger is:

"FDA believes that the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of SLH for consumption, nor do they point to a general recognition of safety."

The FDA also noted that soybeans are one of the most common allergenic foods.
Good on NZ First MP Mark Patterson and National's agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy for giving Air NZ a good bollocking about the disgusting fake burger. They're right — any meat served on Air NZ flights should come from our high-quality, beautiful grass-fed beef and lamb (supporting the New Zealand Taste Pure Nature brand).

A high-quality vegetarian patty (from a New Zealand company like Bean Supreme or Sunfed Meats) should be provided as an alternative, not an imported, unsafe GE product.

"Disappointing to see Air NZ promoting a GE substitute meat burger on its flights to the USA. We produce the most delicious steaks and lamb on the planet — GMO and hormone-free. The national carrier should be pushing our ¦premium products and helping sell New Zealand to the world" — Nathan Guy on Twitter

Get your act together, Air NZ, and pull the Impossible Burger.

LINDA GRAMMER
Whangarei