Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Food Safety Apologist's response to corn 'woeful'

27 July, 2004

Food Safety Apologist's response to corn crisis 'woeful'

Consumer confidence in the agency charged with protecting New Zealand's food supply is being undermined by the woefully inadequate response by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to the importation of lead-contaminated corn, Green MP and Food Safety spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"At first the Authority dithered, then they refused to tell us what products contain the lead-contaminated cornflour, and now they're denying the health risks associated with lead. This is simply not acceptable.

"I repeat my call for the Authority to publish the names of all 30 products containing contaminated flour and the test results for all them, so that consumers can be sure of each product's safety. It's time the Authority stopped putting the interests of the food industry ahead of consumers and their right to know," she said.

Ms Kedgley said that the answers given by Associate Health Minister Damien O'Conner - answering on behalf of the absent Annette King - to her Parliamentary questions today were farcical.

"His answers in the House today were completely dissatisfactory and indicative of the way the Food Safety Authority has handled the corn contamination case," she said.

"It is farcical to describe the Authority's testing regime as 'robust' when they only discovered the lead contamination 'by accident' in a random survey they conduct every five or six years. It is equally farcical to suggest that it had 'acted swiftly' on the issue when it took them ten days to admit to the contamination."

Ms Kedgley said she was concerned at the way the Authority continued to downplay the risks to the public of consuming lead-contaminated food.

"Scientific research, such as a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concludes that any lead exposure whatsoever can lead to irreversible intellectual impairment in children. So why does the Authority and the Minister persist in falsely telling New Zealanders that there are no short or long-term effects from consuming cornflour contaminated with lead?

"The recall today of Edmonds Fielder cornflour is proof that the corn contamination crisis is deepening," Ms Kedgley said. "This is a popular household product and its withdrawal will have many New Zealander reaching in fear for the pantry.

"Of particular concern are children who have eaten significant amounts of corn over the last six months. For example, I was phoned by an anxious father whose daughter has a glycogen storage disease that requires her to eat corn every two hours.

"These parents can take no comfort from the Authority's false claim that cornflour would only be taken in small doses and is therefore harmless," she said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More


Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

“Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As an Aunty, I love reading books to my nieces, so it’s lovely to congratulate Joy Cowley, who is made a member of the Order of New Zealand today....More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>


Medical Cannabis: Bill Introduced to “ease suffering”

Health Minister Dr David Clark says making medicinal cannabis more readily available will help relieve the suffering of people who are dying in pain More>>


Campbell: On The Quest For Zero Net Carbon Emissions
Some would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not?


CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>





Featured InfoPages