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Food labelling a victory for the Alliance

28 July 2000 Media Statement

Food labelling a victory for the Alliance

Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle today hailed the decision for mandatory labelling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients, as a victory for consumers.

Phillida Bunkle was commenting on today's decision by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFC) to label all food that contains GE ingredients.

"I believe we have achieved a triumph for consumers who have wanted to know if there is GE content in their food.

"When I put forward a member's bill on this very issue in 1998, parliament was split on a 60-60 vote. I was nearly able to achieve then, what we finally have now.

"As the only MP to put labelling legislation before the house I'm delighted that after three years of battling, consumers will at last have a choice.

"This is definitely a step in the right direction but I believe work still needs to be done to address other consumer concerns around GE foods. Under the proposal, refined ingredients like canola and cottonseed oils are exempt from labelling where the refining has removed all traces of a GMO, despite coming from GE crops.

"Consumers have told me they want to know if the food they buy has been subjected to genetic modification at any point in the food chain process even if the end product doesn't have detectable levels of GE ingredients.

"Many consumers don't support genetic engineering in food for cultural, ethical or environmental reasons. The proposed standard is cutting edge in global terms, but I still hope the world moves towards labelling based on process not just content."

The Minister has asked her officials to at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to keep a close eye on international developments in this area.

"The Alliance has consistently pushed for labelling of products that have been genetically modified or produced using genetic engineering because content isn't the only issue for consumers, and we will continue to do so.


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