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Safety Reports On GM Foods For Public Comment

MEDIA RELEASE

19 June 2000

ANZFA RELEASES SAFETY ASSESSMENT REPORTS ON GM FOODS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

Board Chairman of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), Michael MacKellar, today released safety assessment reports on five GM foods for public comment.

The foods - involving genetically modified corn, cotton, canola and soybean - appear in thousands of processed foods in many countries, ranging from ice cream to sausage skins, from margarine to mayonnaise.

Mr MacKellar said seventeen safety assessment reports on GM foods will be released over the next three months, with ten weeks being provided on each one for interested parties to supply ANZFA with comment supported by evidence.

Reports on Bt cotton and Roundup Ready soy have already been released.

"All the scientific data presently before ANZFA indicates that the GM foods under assessment have all the benefits of the corresponding conventional foods and no additional risks," Mr MacKellar said.

"For each GM food, the applicant companies are required to provide a very comprehensive range of independently verified information for a full safety assessment ? it's not a simple process."

Mr MacKellar said that ANZFA does not rely solely on the information provided by companies for its safety assessment.

Company data is supplemented by reference to the world's scientific literature and by consultations with other independent scientists and regulatory agencies, international bodies and the general community.

"No food in the history of food regulation has been subjected to such searching scientific scrutiny," Mr MacKellar said.

"My colleagues on the ANZFA Board and I are satisfied that ANZFA has developed a safety assessment process for GM foods equal to the best in the world.

"I have confidence in this process - and so should consumers in New Zealand and Australia."

Copies of the five safety assessment reports are available on the ANZFA website at www.anzfa.govt.nz or by calling the ANZFA office (04) 473 9942.

ENDS

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