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Australian Government Attempts Sabotage

12 May 2002

Australian Government Attempts Sabotage Of GM Labels. Consumers Short-Changed Over GM Labelling

New Zealand’s and Australia’s GE food labelling system risks being sabotaged by the Australian Federal Government’s moves to undermine it in Codex international negotiations according to the Australian Consumers' Association who last week described the delegation's approach as "outrageous behaviour" saying representatives have "deliberately voted against our own domestic labelling regime".

The Australian Federal Government are apparently resisting a GM labelling regime, decided by a majority of the New Zealand and state governments.

May 13th marks the third anniversary of a New Zealand national supermarket protest in which three people, including a man in a wheelchair and a pregnant woman were arrested.

" Consumers are still being denied the choice we were promised. Even supermarkets like Woolworths have confirmed that basically there are no labels", said Jon Carapiet of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment. "There are no labels in the supermarkets, and other outlets like take-aways and bakeries are not required to label their GM products at all".

The consumer is being misled by some companies who say they don’t use GE ingredients. The fact is some manufacturers are being honest and others are using hidden ingredients like GE soy oil and canola oil that they are allowed to sell without labels.

"The commerce commission is allowing this consumer deception and worse have put out warnings against labelling GE-Free which is what people want so they can choose.”

At a recent meeting with Consumer Affairs the pro-GM Life Sciences Network and Grocery Manufacturers group headed by Brenda Cuttress said it could take 4 years before GE-Free labels were allowed as the food was so widely contaminated already.

The new Greenpeace food guide on GE companies is due out within weeks and will be a major tool for consumers to exercise their right to choose. The launch is likely to coincide with more consumer actions to demand GE-Free food.

" Supermarkets and Manufacturers must expect more protests from consumers till they label GE-Free food clearly. The right to avoid GE food is being threatened to the point where we will all be forced to accept it. Already there are those pushing to allow 1% GE even in organic food. That is the end of any choice."


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