9th Aug 2012
Teagasc GM Potato Trial – Opportunity Lost
Ireland has nothing to gain and everything to lose from the planned GM Potato trial by
Teagasc in Carlow.
Euro-toques commends the launch by Bord Bia of Origin Green. Several years of research, starting with the
Harvard ‘Pathways to Growth’ report, clearly demonstrated that Ireland has the opportunity to capitalise on
our ‘clean, green’ image, but also that we must DELIVER on that image in a tangible way. Market research
showed Irish food was considered ‘green’ and ‘untainted’, and this is something that a growing number of
consumers are demanding.
Origin Green provides a Charter for our food & drink export companies to become clean and sustainable and
to brand them as such.
Finally, we have a clear strategy on where we want to take Irish Agri-Food, our biggest indigenous industry.
Finally, we have recognised our immense potential to be world leader on sustainable food production. Finally,
we have acknowledged that our brand is our reputation, and our reputation is GREEN.
Many of the leading Irish food export companies have already signed up to this Charter. The strategy has
been endorsed at the highest levels of Government and Industry. Euro-toques also endorse this strategy. The
opportunity is clear: to market our food on our natural, sustainable image. But what is also clear is that we
must PROVE it; we must be OPEN FOR INSPECTION and we must DELIVER.
Growing genetically modified potatoes in Irish soil is entirely at odds with Origin Green and undermines our
GREEN PROMISE. European consumers have made the opposition to GM foods clear. The opportunity for
Ireland to sign up to this Charter and deliver on Origin Green, something that is uniquely natural and pure,
should not be wasted.
Euro-Toques also has a Charter, in place since its foundation in 1986, requiring that all member chefs sign
up to a strict quality-based food sourcing code. The Euro-Toques Charter rejects the use of GM products in
Euro-Toques Ireland represents over 150 Irish restaurant kitchens, employing over 2,000 chefs. Euro-Toques
Ireland members spend €100 million euro each year on food purchases alone. Around 70% of these food
purchases are of Irish origin and this figure continues to grow.
Moreover, Euro-toques International represents a market of 2,500 of Europe’s most prominent and influential
head chefs, employing in excess of 30,000 chefs in their kitchens.
Euro-Toques Ireland notes the increased purchases of Irish food ingredients in recent years by its European
Members and the high regard in which they hold Irish produce. Indeed the use of the word ‘Irish’ (as in origin)
on menu’s has become a value added statement across Europe.
Euro-Toques chefs simply want to be able to tell the story of pure, authentic Irish food and agriculture. We
strongly believe in the potential to develop Ireland as a food destination, based around this story, and believe
this is inextricably linked to our reputation as a food producer. This potential will be irreversibly damaged by
the short-sighted decision to grow GM crops on our soil.
Euro-Toques call for leadership now to reverse the decision to run a GM Potato Trial in County Carlow. It is not
in the interests of our clean, green food island.
This decision is not in the interests of our Chef Members, either in Ireland or across Europe, and is it is
certainly not in the interest of Ireland and its promise to deliver on ‘Origin Green’. We have far too much to
EURO-TOQUES IRELAND, The European Community of Chefs & Cooks