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Make my sandwich GE-free

Make my sandwich GE-free

The Green Party has renewed its call for proper labelling of food ingredients, in the wake of the Subway sandwich GE scandal.

Subway New Zealand has now admitted that the same GE enzyme that has caused 120 Subway stores to be closed in Japan is present in the dough it uses in this country.

"New Zealand consumers have a right to know what they're eating," Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "It shouldn't matter whether it's a loaf of bread from the supermarket, a snack on an Air New Zealand flight or a sandwich from their local takeaway: we have a right to know.

"The latest TV3/NFO poll found more than 70 per cent of New Zealanders were concerned about eating GE food. It's not good enough for the Environment Minister to arrogantly dismiss their concerns and to hint at some sort of conspiracy against her, with her 'I'm beginning to smell something' comment this morning.

"The only thing that stinks around here is the contempt with which New Zealand consumers are being treated by the Labour Government.

"Marion Hobbs might dismiss an enzyme as being too insignificant to warrant labelling but one has only to look at the L-tryptophan scandal in the US to get an idea of the risks of GE-derived food additives."

The genetically engineered L-tryptophan was used in a dietary supplement that resulted in an epidemic of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) that infected up to 10,000 people and killed at least 80.

"No one is suggesting that the GE enzyme used by Subway is a potential killer," Ms Fitzsimons said. "The point is that all food products that contain even a trace of a GE ingredient should be labelled. That way, consumers can assess the risks and make their own choice.

"In the meantime, Subway should take a leaf from its Japanese operation and request Yarrows to supply it with GE-free dough."

Green MP, Sue Kedgley has drafted a private member's bill, the Consumer Right to Know (Food Information) Bill, based on the strict new GE labelling laws adopted by the European Union.

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