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Right to know Bill will shed GE light for consumer

'Right to know' Bill will shed GE light for consumers

The latest GE 'corntamination' scare has prompted Sue Kedgley to release a private member's bill which will enable consumers to identify which foods on sale in New Zealand contain or are made from GE.

Ms Kedgley's Bill will go into the next ballot for private member's bills. "The latest incident has highlighted how confusing and unsatisfactory our current GE labelling regime is.

"The public has said loudly and clearly since the contamination was announced last Friday that they had no idea there were so many unlabelled products on our supermarkets shelves containing GE," Ms Kedgley said.

"What most New Zealanders don't realise is that 20 GE commodities, including seven different types of GE corn, have been approved for sale in New Zealand. These GE commodities are used as ingredients in processed foods containing soy, corn, canola, or cottonseed oil. GE potatoes and sugarbeet have also been approved.

"Most of these ingredients don't have to be declared on a label because our labelling laws are so inadequate."

Ms Kedgley said it was almost impossible for a consumer to figure out which foods contained or were made from GE ingredients. "That's why I am introducing the Right to Know (Food Information) Bill -so that consumers will be able to work out exactly which foods contain or are made from GE ingredients and avoid them if they wish."

Ms Kedgley said the labelling regime in the Bill was based on strict new labelling laws that the European Union has adopted. A similar Bill to Ms Kedgley's will be introduced by Australian Green Senators, in the hope that the joint approach will persuade Food Standards Australia New Zealand to move towards comprehensive GE labelling of all food.

The Bill will also enshrine in law for the first time the concept of a consumer's right to know what is in the foods they are eating, and to have sufficient information to enable them to make informed choices.

Ms Kedgley said she was horrified that even New Zealand's Food Safety Authority has refused to name the products on sale here that contain the seven approved varieties of GE corn, following the latest scare. "The present situation is scandalous. The public has the right to know what is in the food they eat, and to avoid GE foods if they wish."

GE products that may be in your supermarket now or soon:

1. FSANZ-approved GE foods


Glyphosate tolerant soybean Monsanto Australia
High oleic acid soybeans Du Pont


Glyphosate tolerant canola Monsanto Australia
Glufosinate ammonium tolerant canola topaz & glufosinate ammonium tolerant canola with fertility traits Aventis CropScience
Canola resistant to bromoxynil Aventis CropScience


Insect-resistant corn Mon 810 Monsanto Australia
Glyphosate tolerant corn Monsanto Australia
Insect-resistant corn (Bt-176) Syngenta Seeds
Insect-resistant, glufosinate ammonium tolerant corn line (Bt-11) Syngenta Seeds
Glufosinate ammonium tolerant corn T25 Aventis CropScience
Insect-resistant, glufosinate ammonium corn Monsanto Australia
Glyphosate tolerant corn NK603 Monsanto Australia


Colorado Potato Beetle resistant potato Monsanto Australia
Colorado Potato Beetle resistant potato with resistance to potato leaf roll virus Monsanto Australia
Colorado Potato Beetle resistant potato with resistance to potato virus Y Monsanto Australia


Glyphosate tolerant sugarbeet GTSB77 Monsanto Australia


Insect resistant cotton Monsanto Australia
Glyphosate tolerant cotton 1445 Monsanto Australia
Cotton resistant to bromoxynil Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company and Aventis CropScience
Insect resistant cotton Monsanto Australia

2. GE food assessments by FSANZ in progress



Glufosinate ammonium tolerant soy .Bayer Crop Science
Insect-resistant, glufosinate ammonium corn line 1507 Dow AgroSciences
Insect resistant corn Monsanto Australia

3. FSANZ-approved GE processing aids and food additives and their use

Note: There are seven processing aids and food additives containing GE that are permitted in New Zealand food products but do not have to be labelled. These will mostly be in, or used in the processing of, alcoholic drinks, juices, bakery products, confectionary and some dairy products, Ms Kedgley said.

alpha -Acetolactate decarboxylase

Removes diacetyl, an off flavour from fermentation. Beer

Carbohydrate modifying enzymes: Amylase, Hemicellulase endo -1,4-xylanase or xylanase

Break down starch from cereals during manufacturing and sugar during refining; clarify fruit juices Beer, spirits, glucose syrups, bread, sugar, enzyme modified starches, fruit juices

Fat modifying enzymes: Lipase, triacylglycerol

Applied to fats and oils to produce triglycerides which enhance spreadability or texture Cheese and dairy products, chocolate and related confectionery

Protein modifying enzymes: Chymosin, Mucorpepsin

Coagulate milk proteins to form curds in cheesemaking, and clot or thicken cream. Cheese, Cream


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