Soy feed ban could hit poultry prices
By ALEX EASTON
THE price of chicken could rise under new moves by poultry companies to ban genetically-modified grain, Byron Bay processor Sunnybrand has warned.
Sunnybrand Chickens general manager Andrew Young yesterday said his company would follow poultry giants Inghams, Baiada and Bartter-Steggles in banning genetically-modified soy for its chickens.
The change, which follows a massive lobbying campaign of major industry players, was expected to take effect at the Byron Bay plant within months.
However, Mr Young questioned the value of banning geneticallymodified feed, saying the increased cost of the new feed would be passed on to consumers.
Mr Young was unable to pre- dict how much the new feed was likely to add to the cost of a chicken, but said the company would have to ask supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths to pay more for the 250,000 chickens processed by the plant each week.
Woolworths and Coles declined to say whether they would consider price increases on chickens.
However, a Coles spokesman said a price rise would not necessarily be passed on to consumers.
Mr Young said no conclusive evidence existed for the potential impact on humans of eating animals raised on genetically-modified foods.
"There are experts on both sides of the debate," he said.
Sunnybrand did not intentionally use genetically-modified soy to feed its chickens, he said.
The grain used by the company was imported, and the supplier could not guarantee it was not modified.
Under the change Sunnybrand would require grain suppliers to give that guarantee.