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Naked Chefs To Urge Pam's To "Stop Ge "

Auckland GE-Free Coalition, PO Box 4346, Shortland Street

Media Release

NAKED CHEFS TO URGE PAM'S TO "STOP GE "

New Zealand's own "naked chefs" will join consumers in protest over GE food this Friday to draw attention to the risk of deception under the new GE labelling regime starting on December 7th.

The protest is taking place outside Pak N Save New North Road, Mt Albert, 8 - 9am, and is to voice concern at Pam's policy to use GE ingredients. This policy could badly mislead consumers as GE -derived ingredients like soy oil and canola oil are not required to be clearly labelled. Other major supermarkets, notably Foodtown have committed to avoid using such hidden GE ingredients.

The "Naked Chefs" theme for Friday's protest has been inspired by chef Jamie Oliver, used in promoting the Pam's brand for Pak N' Save. Pam's is a familiar brand, and Oliver is someone people think they can trust. But Pam's are not giving their customers the right to avoid GE, since GE oils and other ingredients can be hidden unlabelled.

“Many people buying Pam's would strongly object to consuming GE-derived foods if they were told about them," said a spokeperson from the Auckland GE-Free Coalition. "Pam's should stop using GE-source ingredients or warn their customers, with voluntary labelling."

Two years ago, at the same Pak N Save supermarket, police arrested three people, including a pregnant woman and a man in a wheelchair, for labelling GE foods. Karen Kee, one of the "GE-Three" arrested that day says: "The labelling of some GE ingredients in food is a strong step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go to restore the right of consumers to choose the GE-Free option, whether on ethical, moral or religious grounds."

Karen says she would also like to see a re-evaluation of the outcome of the trial on charges of "intentional damage" that followed the three arrests." We believe we were not committing a crime but were working to promote awareness and the basic right to choose for the good of the public."

Though the government has decided to now label some GE, the regime will not restore choice for consumers. Unlabelled GE Food still for sale includes GE food made before 7th December. This can be sold unlabelled and is likely to deceive or confuse consumers.

Exemptions will deny consumer choice: GE food sold at bakeries, cafes, take-ways and restaurants will be exempted from labelling, also allowing deception of customers who would prefer to avoid such products if they were warned. Manufacturers should voluntarily label the use of GE-derived ingredients or they should remove such ingredients to avoid deceiving their customers.

The regime ignores scientific warnings. There is still no testing of GE foods approved onto the market. It assumes processed ingredients like GE soy oil will not have adverse effects but scientists warn that the process of Genetic Engineering can create unexpected toxins. These are not tested for and may not be removed in processing. The regime fails to heed the lesson of l-tryptophan: a 99.9% pure form of a dietary supplement that killed scores and injured thousands in an accident during the 1980's.

RELEASE ENDS.

For more information contact: Karin Bettley 09 360 0225 Bill Mockridge 025 667 5008 Karen Kee 025 610 3813


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