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Europe To Take Prize For Strictest GE Labelling

Auckland/Brussels, 4th July 2002 - Greenpeace welcomes the European Parliament’s vote for tightening European regulations on labelling and traceabilty of genetically engineered (GE) food and feed, putting European regulations well ahead of New Zealand’s.

For the first time, GE feed will be labelled in the European Union. All GE food, including highly processed ingredients such as sugar, oil, starch, produced from GMOs, will have to be labelled. The new regulation will set up a thorough traceability system in order to follow food and food ingredients produced from GMOs across all stages of food processing until the final product. New Zealand has no traceability system.

“New Zealand cannot claim to have the toughest GMO labelling regime in the world. Europe is set to take that prize. The results from the European Parliament will enable European consumers and farmers to choose what products to eat and use,” GE campaigner Annette Cotter said today.

“New Zealand’s labelling of GE food is woefully inadequate and cannot ensure security for our food, our environment or New Zealand’s clean green image. The EU regulations put ours to shame.”

Alistair Polston, president of Federated Farmers claimed last night on the Holmes Show that New Zealand’s labelling laws were the strongest in the world. The results from Europe shoot holes in this claim.

Greenpeace welcomed especially the following points from the regime: * All food and feed will have to be labelled, if they come from GMOs, on the basis of the new traceability system. * Zero tolerance for contamination in food and feed from GMOs that have not been authorised. * If food / feed is contaminated by authorised GMOs by 0.5% or more, then the product must be labelled as containing GMOs. * National biosafety agencies will have to be involved in the risk assessment through the centralised authorisation procedure for GE food and feed.

“Greenpeace calls on the New Zealand authorities to apply the same strict regime. Likewise the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) must adopt a zero tolerance system for contamination of GE in food and feed. Anything less is unacceptable,” concluded Cotter.

Contact: Annette Cotter 021 565 175 Vanessa Atkinson 025 927 301

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