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GE Labelling Loophole An Outrage - Greens

24 October 2001

Green Safe Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today the decision by Australian and New Zealand health ministers to allow unlabelled GE food on the shelves for another year makes a mockery of the GE labelling regime.

"The 12 month "stock-in-trade" exemption will make the whole labelling system extremely confusing. Customers won't know whether no GE label actually means a product is free of GE or whether it indicates that this product was made before December 7th.

"Customers will be shocked and outraged that the ANZFA health ministers council have put the industry interests ahead of the consumers right to know what they are eating," she said.

"For health ministers to use the grounds that food would be wasted if this exemption was not allowed is simply ridiculous," said Ms Kedgley.

Ms Kedgley said that the food industry and distributors had had 18 months to get ready for GE labelling. A past request for a stock-in-trade exemption had been turned down by health ministers in July 2000 on the grounds that the industry had already had ample time to prepare.

"There is no word about how this loophole will be monitored or enforced to only apply to products made before the 7th December. It is going to be very difficult to stop other long shelf-life food escape labelling through this loophole," she said.

Ms Kedgley said she welcomed Mrs King advocating for the Green position that mandatory GE food labelling should start on December 7th.

"Mrs King's failure to win over the Australian ministers showed that it is almost impossible to advocate effectively for New Zealand's interests when New Zealand has only one vote on a ten member council," she said.

"We have effectively given up our sovereignty when it comes to what we eat."

Ends


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