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Comvita Welcomes Reversal On Bee Product Warnings

Comvita Welcomes ANZFA Reversal On Bee Product Warnings

Paengaroa, 31 August 2000. Comvita NZ Ltd, an industry leader in the Australasian bee products market, has today welcomed an announcement by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) recommending a significant change to current requirements in New Zealand and Australia for the labelling of bee products.

The ANZFA report agrees with the findings of a panel of New Zealand scientists convened last year by then Associate Minister of Health, the Hon. Tuariki John Delamere.

The panel found that based on an objective review of the evidence, and using an internationally accepted system of risk analysis, bee products were no more dangerous than other food products.

The ANZFA report reverses previous decisions made by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, ANZFA and the New Zealand Ministry of Health that required all products containing royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis to carry warnings saying they could cause severe allergic reactions.

The ANZFA report recommends that no warnings are needed for bee pollen and propolis products, and that for royal jelly products there should be a statement warning asthmatics of the risk of adverse reactions.

According to Comvita Board Chairman Mr. Bill Bracks, the ANZFA report is a victory for common sense.

"All we have ever said is that bee products should be considered on a level playing field," said Mr Bracks. "We provided health officials on both sides of the Tasman with irrefutable scientific evidence that bee products pose far less risk than a whole range of other commonly used foods and drugs that don't have such warning labels. It's nice to see that the bureaucrats have finally acknowledged they got it wrong," he said.

According to Mr. Bracks, "What is needed now is an apology from the Director-General of Health here in New Zealand for a statement made under privilege in 1997 that there is no scientifically demonstrated nutritional or medical benefit from bee products."

"That statement was patently false, and made our Ministry of Health the laughing stock of beekeeping industries worldwide," Mr Bracks added. "In Australia we are able to register our products based on their therapeutic properties. In New Zealand, we still have people in authority who will not recognise the significant science literature on the benefits of bee products."

Ends.

For further information please call: Mr Bill Bracks Comvita NZ Ltd Tel 07 5331426


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