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Consumer call for govt to act to support choice

GE Free New Zealand
In Food And Environment Inc.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 June 2002

Consumer call for govt to act to support choice.

Sitting on the fence at international fora is not good enough say GE free New Zealand in Food and Environment. GE Free New Zealand believe New Zealand's representation at Codex international food standards meetings fails to adequately address consumer concerns.

It is felt that New Zealand representatives should be moving towards the position being put forward by the EU environment committee of full labelling of all ingredients produced with the use of gene technology and promoting track back systems.

'The New Zealand position does not reflect consumer concerns,' says Jon Carapiet of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment. 'New Zealand needs to take a proactive stance, after all the Royal Commission supported consumer choice in its findings and the EU environment committee have recently supported stringent new rulings on GE food and feedstuffs.'

At the last meeting the Federal Government of Australia were accused by the Australian Consumers Assoc. of voting against our joint standard for GE labeling. Concerns have been raised that the sovereignty of New Zealand has been effectively done away with in regard to food since changes to ANZFA disallowed New Zealand to exempt itself from standards unless 'exceptional circumstances' proved there to be an issue.

'Presumably it would take a test case to prove the definition of ‘exceptional’ circumstances,' says Jon, 'however world standards when passed may allow different labelling regimes to be introduced where religious and cultural differences are acknowledged.'

'It would be ridiculous if we have to wait for world standards to be finalised before Maori concerns are supposedly upheld in New Zealand’s bicultural society by the Waitangi treaty are addressed and people are given the right to know what they eat!'

ENDS - contact spokesperson Jon Carapiet- 09 815 3370

Background article
Euro MPs vote for tougher rules on GM food labels

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