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Discussion paper on GM-labelling welcomed

Wed, 15 Sep 2004

Discussion paper on GM-labelling welcomed

The release of a discussion paper will assist with plans to develop trans-Tasman guidelines on GM-labelling by early next year.

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The release of a discussion paper Proposed Draft Guidelines on the Labelling of Genetically Modified Foods and Food Products, by the Commerce Commission, was welcomed today by Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard.

Judith Tizard says the paper will assist with plans to develop trans-Tasman guidelines on GM-labelling by early next year.

"A trans-Tasman approach will ensure food-manufacturers, suppliers and industry in New Zealand and Australia have consistent information about labelling both genetically modified and GM-free food."

The Commerce Commission has said it will work with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop the joint guidelines on GM-labelling.

Judith Tizard said the government had looked at the option of developing a voluntary GM-free label, however, it was not technically possible at this stage to identify all GM content present in foods with 100% certainty.

"Consumers and industry told us that they didn't want a half way solution. In keeping with the recommendations of the Royal Commission, clear guidelines will be made available on what is required to label a food 'GM-free'."

The discussion paper sets out the Commerce Commission's current approach to the labelling and promotion of genetically modified foods under the Fair Trading Act. A copy of the paper is available on the Commission's website, www.comcom.govt.nz

Submissions close on 11 October 2004.

ENDS

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