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More Confusion For Consumers

More Confusion For Consumers With Clayton's Labelling Scheme

Green MP Sue Kedgley said the long awaited labelling scheme for GE foods which comes into force today was a Clayton's scheme which, rather than helping consumers, will confuse them even more.

"There are so many loopholes and exemptions to this scheme that consumers are just going to be left scratching their heads, if they notice any difference at all," she said.

"The only positive thing about this scheme is that it has prompted many food producers and supermarket chains to go further than what is required and to source all GE-free ingredients for their own brands."

One of the confusing aspects of this scheme is that all foods made, packaged, imported or purchased for re-sale before December 7 can remain on shelves for a further year with no labels indicating the presence or otherwise of GE ingredients.

Foods with processed or refined oils, fats and sugars made from genetically engineered crops and found in many foods will not require labels. Nor will many genetically engineered rennets, enzymes, flavourings, colourings or additives such as soy lecithin, which is found in many breads and baked goods.

Products from animals fed on genetically engineered feed will not require a label, nor will any food bought from a deli, take-away or restaurant (about 60 per cent of all the food we eat).

"On a positive note, many food companies, including two major supermarket chains, Woolworths (which owns Woolworths, Price Chopper and Big Fresh supermarkets) and Progressive (which owns Countdown and Foodtown supermarkets), have now committed to making their own brands GE-free."

Ms Kedgley urged all New Zealanders to use their power as consumers to support the growing list of companies that had gone the extra mile and removed all GE ingredients from their food and avoid companies that refused.

"That way all companies would be forced to go GE-free," she said.

"It is a shame that of the major supermarkets here in New Zealand only Foodstuffs, which owns New World, 4 Square and Pak 'n' Save, has refused to go GE-free with its own Pam's and Budget brands."

"The Greens will continue to push for these rules to be tightened and strengthened and for producers to listen to the views of consumers. It is simply not fair to make people eat something they do not want and, sadly, this Clayton's scheme does nothing to stop exactly that."

Ends


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