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Consumers sold out in mockery GE decision: Kedgley


28 July 2000

Consumers sold out in mockery GE decision - Kedgley

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley today said the Government's back-down on GE labelling left consumers with a watered down labelling regime which would be hopelessly confusing and would provide inadequate information.

At a meeting in Wellington today the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) agreed to a partial mandatory labelling regime for some GE foods. The agreement is a major compromise for the New Zealand Government which will see processed foods containing refined genetically engineered sugars, starches and oils go unlabelled.

"When consumers go into the supermarket, they want to know whether there are any genetically engineered ingredients in their packet of bread or food product. They don't want to know whether or not it meets a technical definition of whether it contains detectable levels of DNA," said Ms Kedgley.

"Consumers simply want to know if what they are eating contains genetically engineered ingredients and this system, which is very similar to the European labelling system, does not provide that. This scheme will be very difficult for consumers who want to avoid genetically engineered foods.

"Under today's agreement many of the staple GE ingredients in processed foods such as oils, corn starches and sugars on our supermarket shelves will be unlabelled and this is clearly not what consumers in both Australia and New Zealand have been asking for," said Ms Kedgley.

Takeaway foods and foods in restaurants will also be unlabelled.

"The Greens are dismayed that our Government has bowed to international pressure, broken its election pledge and sold consumers out through refusing to take an international lead on this issue.

"While we are pleased that John Howard's even more lax proposals were rejected, this scheme is meaningless and consumers should feel disappointed and betrayed," said Ms Kedgley.

Ends

Sue Kedgley MP: 025 270 9088


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