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Consumers To Get Better Information About GM Foods

MEDIA RELEASE

Hon Wyatt Creech

Minister of Health

3 August 1999

CONSUMERS TO GET BETTER INFORMATION ABOUT GM FOODS

"New Zealand consumers will be better informed about the contents of the food they buy following a decision by the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Council," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said at the conclusion of a marathon session of the Council today.

"The New Zealand Government is committed to ensuring food sold and available in New Zealand is safe for people to eat. We are also committed to giving consumers information to make an informed choice about what they are buying.

"New Zealand argued to support of the labelling of all genetically modified foods which do contain or may contain a component that has been genetically engineered.

"The Council had to weigh up the best way to give people the information they need, with costs to consumers and producers, our obligations under the World Trade Organisation, enforcement and timing issues.

"The New Zealand Government takes its obligations and responsibilities under the Trans-Tasman food standards treaty and joint standards under CER very seriously. We rely on this joint approach with Australia to ensure we have quality standards and checks in place on the safety of our food.

"Now the final shape of the labelling regime has been decided ANZFA officials will develop the practical arrangements for operating the system."

Mr Creech said New Zealand's vote took into account the results of a consultation process. The common theme from individual submitters was that the consumer had a right to know whether the food they were buying was genetically modified.

Tonight's ANZFSC decision follows consideration of how to implement the "in principle" decision of December to label substantially equivalent GMFs.

ENDS




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