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Govt. Set To Shaft Kiwis Over GE Food - Fitzsimons

The government plans to exclude most foods containing genetically engineered components from labelling, Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

In response to a question in the House from Ms Fitzsimons today, Health Minister Wyatt Creech confirmed that the government position is that refined ingredients such as oils, sugars and starches derived from GE plants do not need labelling.

This is the position the government will take into the crucial ANZFA Council of Ministers meeting in Australia next Tuesday in which decisions on how and what foods to label will be made.

Jeanette Fitzsimons said this was an outrageous position for the government to take and was a position that ignored the thousands of submissions made on the issue by New Zealanders.

"If ingredients like canola oil, corn starch, sugar, soya bean oil and cotton seed oil are exempted from labelling as the government plans, then most of the food that has been genetically engineered will remain unlabelled," she said.

The government is saying that only foods in which genetically engineered DNA can be identified need to be labelled," she said. "The fact is that the risks from GE are not confined to the genes themnselves. New toxins or allergens could be present even if refining has removed the DNA itself."

"The public of New Zealand have every right to feel betrayed by this soft position of the government.

"It will not reassure consumers or give them the protection they are begging for," she said.

"This position is not even close to what most New Zealanders want and I challenge the government to be brave, start listening to New Zealanders and change their position on this absolutely crucial issue," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Time is fast running out."


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