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GE-Free labelling regime a copout

GE-Free labelling regime a copout

The voluntary GE-Free labelling regime proposed by the Government today is a copout, when what we really need is a comprehensive, mandatory GE labelling scheme which labels all GE ingredients, Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

"The Government seems to be trying to compensate for its woefully inadequate GE labelling regime which allows most GE ingredients in food to remain unlabelled.

"It is completely unfair and inequitable that GE-Free suppliers are expected to pay for and run this proposed new voluntary scheme, when the Government funds the running and monitoring of the current inadequate GE labelling regime," Ms Kedgley said.

"While a voluntary GE-Free label sounds appealing, it is never going to get off the ground as proposed in the discussion paper, with suppliers expected to run and fund the entire scheme.

"It is ridiculous to expect GE-Free suppliers to develop their own national standard and technical specifications, and to pay for the entire auditing, monitoring and certifying regime," Ms Kedgley said.

"It is completely inequitable. The Government or the GE industry should be meeting all the costs. The Government pays for other aspects of our existing GE labelling regime, which currently requires the labelling of foods containing a few GE ingredients. It's time the GE industry started bearing some of the costs rather than imposing them on the taxpayer and other sector groups," Ms Kedgley said.

"Have you ever found a product labelled as containing GE in your supermarket yet? That's because there are so many loopholes. The truth is there are hundreds of products in the supermarket which contain GE ingredients such as additives, colourings, GE oils and starches and so on, which do not have to be declared on a label because of exemptions.

"What New Zealand urgently needs is European Union-style GE labelling, where all GE ingredients have to be labelled with no exemptions," Ms Kedgley said.

Meanwhile, Ms Kedgley welcomed an announcement by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council this week that it will be reviewing GE labelling requirements. The Council said in a statement on Monday that the study will include a review of legislation around the world.

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