Is Air Zealand disregarding regulations? – GE Free New Zealand

By   /   July 9, 2018  /   3 Comments

Is Air Zealand disregarding regulations for food and passenger safety?

Air NZ is selling a genetically engineered vegan burger on its Los angeles to Auckland flights. [1] however, its legality has been questioned as it has escaped food safety regulation. [2]

The GE burger has been developed and tested by Impossible Foods and contains fake GE blood so the “burger sizzles”. The fake blood is derived from yeast Pichia pastoris genetically engineered with a Soy Leghemoglobin Protein (SLH). [2]

Documents accessed by Friends of the Earth under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) state that the “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 soybean is one of the most common allergenic foods.

“Offering it on an aircraft sidelines the approval framework required of consumer food safety,” said Claire Bleakley, President of GE-Free NZ (in food and environment).

As well as doubts over the credibility of sustainability claims made for the burger, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had declined to approve key GE ingredients and warns that warns there may be unexpected allergens. [3]

“It is concerning that Air New Zealand is using its passengers as guinea pigs to trial the burger,” said Claire Bleakley, “The consumer preference for plant based eating is based on ethical and genuine sustainability reasons.”

It is not known if the passengers have even been informed of the unapproved ingredients [4] and potential allergenic effects that might occur or if the crew been properly trained to recognize and deal with an allergic reaction.

“The GE product has failed to meet the regulatory safety standards and the decision to sell it makes Air New Zealand responsible if harm occurs,” said Mrs. Bleakley

“Whilst we applaud the move to vegan diets on Air New Zealand flights, the question needs to be asked as to why Air NZ would put itself in the position of ignoring other delicious innovative plant-based non-GE burgers, fitting the New Zealand Brand?”

Ref;

[1] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12082092

[2] Is the vegan ‘Impossible burger’ legal? https://modernfarmer.com/2018/04/vegan-impossible-burger-legal-gras-approval/

[3] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1091581818766318

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3 Comments

  1. Michal says:

    Thanks I wondered about that when I read what the contents were.

    They aren’t selling the burger it is on their menu to those with expensive seats on the airline between the US and NZ as far I understand.

  2. Scotti says:

    Day nine. Twice by now the airline tries to green wash or defend this GE one.”This is not a ‘vegan’ product if it uses GE. “GE ingredients help to give the burger a meaty texture””.
    There is a cartoon in today’s NZH on the guilty Imp’ burger, while not explicit about food safety (MPI & FSANZ)..the Silicon Valley industrial agriculture and its two NZ-US film mogul backers who push and invest in this; since the a former PM is on the Air NZ board.Such strategic ,convenient timing with the hapless ‘chief science advisor’ giving a unproven ‘green’ light to GE in foods (as US often does and unlabelled). Air NZ is 53% public owned despite Key now being on the board. Both parties should at least wait for the full FDA approval in US (nil since 2014), not make their own ‘kangaroo court’ food safety decisions. USA with scarce GE food regulation is then transferred to Air NZ.Any biosecurity second breach?
    An obvious rush to profit from the would be innovators? And there is an plant based innovation one day conference arranged in Auckland in July which sets out an agenda, some of it maybe reasonable.Via Scoop: Plant proteins and food exports ? The background hype moves on…
    The food technique issue is also being highlighted, in much more technical depth, in a national PR industry conference – ProteinTECH – running on 24 July in Auckland. The theme is “Technology Disruption in Food Production.” TV news and social media highlight US ‘Impossible Burgers’ going global and Vivera plant-based steaks flying off UK Tesco’s shelves in Britain. True to form they have focused the public’s attention on threats to our agriculture exports.

  3. Scotti says:

    Plant proteins and food exports ? The background hype moves on…
    The food technique issue is also being highlighted, in much more technical depth, in a national PR industry conference – ProteinTECH – running on 24 July in Auckland. The theme is “Technology Disruption in Food Production.” TV news and social media highlight US ‘Impossible Burgers’ going global and Vivera plant-based steaks flying off UK Tesco’s shelves in Britain. True to form they have focused the public’s attention on threats to our agriculture exports.