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Inquiry into GE foods must be next

Bunkle ANSFA's decision to support a compromised form of labelling is a small start, but more importantly an acknowledgement at the highest level that we don't know enough, and must proceed with caution, Alliance spokesperson on health, Phillida Bunkle said today.

'I call on our government now to move towards a full enquiry into the GE foods, as a matter of urgency.

'The Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANSFA) met yesterday and decided to introduce what they call 'mandatory labelling of foods produced us ing gene technology and foods containing genetically modified ingredients,' including a 'might contain genetically ingredients ' label.

'A 'might contain' label is like saying this 'might be safe, then again it might not.

' The reality is, no-one knows if GE foods are safe or not.

'This decision shows that not even government ministers at an international level are sure of the safety of genetically engineered foods. That's why we must have a full inquiry now, and a moratorium in the meantime on all commercial field trials for GE foods.

'Earlier this year Phillida Bunkle launched a private members bill which called for a full inquiry into the likely consequences of genetic engineering and a moratorium. The bill was defeated in parliament.

'I hope now that the government will put politics aside and pick up the challenge presented by my bill. New Zealand consumers deserve no less.

'The Government must not wait as long as it has to support some form of labelling, before it sets up a full inquiry.

'This year the British Royal Society called for a full inquiry into genetically engineered organisms, and strict controls on the biotech industry.

'We should take heed of what some of Britain's top scientists say from its most distinguished scientific bodies - not only the Royal Society but also the British Medical Association.

'My Bill also called for a super-regulatory and independent body to be set up to consider the implications of this ! technology as a whole, not just on a case by case basis.

'Above all governments must act and they must act quickly, the Royal Society said. That is the challenge to the New Zealand government today. This agreement at ANSFA shows that they now accept we've been right all along. We're right about the need for an inquiry and a moratorium too, said Phillida Bunkle.


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