Customers ditch Lilydale after discovering chickens are fed GM feed

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th February 2016

A group of consumers is pledging never to buy Lilydale free-range chickens again after finding out the chickens are fed genetically modified (GM) feed.


The issue arose by complaints on social media followed by a response by Lilydale on its Facebook page.


Free-range chickens in Australia are not required to be fed non-GM food but the concerned customers say they want the chickens to be fed non-GM foods also.


In response to the uproar Lilydale posted on its Facebook page that it was currently unable to source all non-GM ingredients for its feed.


“At Lilydale, we have a policy to feed our free range chickens a nutritious, vitamin enriched diet that includes seeds, grains, peas and canola,” the post said.


“In addition to the diet, the birds are free to forage for fresh grass during daylight hours. Currently we are unable to source all non-GM ingredients for Lilydale feed due to a range of factors including the source and seasonal nature of some crops used in components of the feed,” Lilydale stated.


“Our nutritionist sources the best possible feed for our chickens to make sure they meet our strict quality standards,” the post concluded.


The Lilydale website also declares that its chickens are fed GM feed.


Lilydale is owned by Baiada Poultry which also owns Steggles.


GM is regulated in Australia


GM food in Australia is regulated by FSANZ through Standard 1.5.2 – Food produced using Gene Technology in the Food Standards Code. The Code states that any GM food sold in Australia must been approved with a food safety assessment performed. GM feeds for animals similarly must undergo an approval process.


There is no legal obligation for free-range animals to be fed only GM-free feed. However, some free-range chicken meat eaters interested in animal welfare extend their personal concerns into the realm of making sure the birds are deprived of any feed from a GM plant (e.g. GM for better pest control of a canola plant or of corn used as a plant source of the feed) prior to the bird being slaughtered for consumption.