Australia’s top chefs are opposed to serving genetically modified (GM) foods in their restaurants. They have endorsed a major initiative launched by Greenpeace, called the GM Free Chefs Charter.
More than 50 of Australia’s top chefs have endorsed Greenpeace’s GM Free Chefs Charter.
The charter calls for the thorough labelling of all food products containing GM ingredients and opposes the recent introduction of GM canola in New South Wales and Victoria.
“The decision to invest in the production of GM food crops worries me greatly as a chef and as a parent,” said Jared Ingersoll, owner and head chef of Danks Street Depot.
“I understand the need for the use of technology in agriculture as our farmers are faced with many challenges. However, I have grave concerns for the damage that could be caused if untested and poorly regulated GM food crops enter our food chain. All I ask is that there is a more transparent and independent way of looking into these technologies which takes into consideration people’s health together with the environmental and economic impacts.”
GM Free Chefs Charter
For the first time, genetically modified (GM) food crops will be grown in Australia. From May 2008 in New South Wales and Victoria, GM canola will be grown commercially and will enter our food supply.
As chefs and restaurateurs we aim to protect the quality, diversity and the flavour of food we serve. To do so we need to be positive that what we put on plates represents the best Australia has to offer. To do otherwise is to risk not only the well being of our clientele, but also the well being of our nation.
Because of the untested long-term risks associated with the growing and consumption of GM foods, we are strongly opposed to serving them - or ingredients derived from GM products - in our restaurants.
Statistics reveal that the majority of Australians do not want to eat GM foods and over recent years we have seen our customers’ growing concern about the origins, ethical treatment and corporate control of food.
Canola is used in an extensive number of food products, ranging from breakfast cereals to oil and margarine to bread. Once GM canola is grown on Australian soil, it will find its way into our diet as canola oil and meal. Even worse, we will not know that we are eating food that contains GM canola, because under current laws it will remain unlabelled.
In the US and the EU, and across the world the great growth area is in clean, green food products. We believe that it is not wise to give up our global, unrestricted GM free marketing advantage, particularly when the long term implications of GM food manufacture and consumption are not yet known.
Only two state governments, New South Wales and Victoria, have lifted their moratoria on growing GM canola – all other canola growing states have committed to maintaining their moratoria on environmental, health and economic grounds. We encourage the New South Wales and Victorian governments to join the other states and reverse their position for the benefit of the nation.
In the meantime, it is imperative that the federal government legislates for the labelling of all GM foods and food products derived through GM. This is essential so that Australians can make clear decisions about whether to buy GM free ingredients or not. The labelling should include all vegetable oils, starches, sugars, colourings, produce made with canola, processing aids and additives, as well as animal feed. It should also include the labelling of meat from animals that have eaten GM feed.
We are committed to Australia’s GM free status so GM free food can be prepared and enjoyed without hesitation across the country, by all Australians.
Chefs signed up:
New South Wales
Kimitaka Azuma of Azuma
Martin Boetz of Longrain Restaurant
Andrew Cibej of Vini
Serge Dansereau of Bathers’ Pavilion
Holly Davis, founder of Iku Wholefood
Peter Doyle of est. at Establishment Hotel
Colin Fassnidge of Four in Hand Hotel
Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant
Bill Granger of bills
Alex Herbert of Bird Cow Fish
Stephen Hodges of Fish Face
Ashley Hughes of Alio
Jared Ingersoll of Danks Street Depot
Carl Kenzler of Ritual Restaurant
James Kidman of Otto Ristorante
Lee Kwiez of Milsons Restaurant
Kylie Kwong of Billy Kwong
Chui Lee Luk of Claude’s
Christine Manfield of Universal Restaurant
Paul McGrath of Bistro Ortolan
Matthew Moran of ARIA Restaurant
Sean Moran of Sean’s Panaroma
Justin North of Bécasse Restaurant
Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo
Neil Perry of Rockpool
Dietmar Sawyere of Forty-One & Berowra Waters Inn
Jeremy Strode of Bistrode
Warren Turnbull of Assiette
Marcus Allen of Interlude
Simon Arkless of Comme Kitchen
Michael Bacash of Bacash
Dwayne Bourke of The Argo & Clunes Hotel
Robert Castellani of Donovan’s
Dallas Cuddy of Verge
Neil Cunningham of Healesville Hotel
Matt Dempsey of Pettavel Winery & Restaurant
Elizabeth Egan of Becco
Teage Ezard of ezard and Gingerboy
Geraud Fabre of France-Soir
Guy Grossi of Grossi Florentino & Mirka at Tolarno Hotel
Michael Lambie of Taxi Dining Room
Sam Lynch of Original Foods
Luke Palmer of Fork to Fork
Tobie Puttock of Fifteen Melbourne
Virginia Redmond of Cicciolina
Patrice Repellins of Koots
Chris Rodriguez of Grossi Florentino
Ben Shewry of Attica
Annie Smithers of Annie Smithers Bistrot
Joseph Vargetto of Oyster Little Bourke
Matthew Wilkinson of Circa, The Prince
Paul Wilson of The Botanical
Alla Wolf Tasker of Lake House
Ian ParmenterSouth Australia
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Find out what's in your food with the Australian True Food Guide and see which popular supermarket items are GM free