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Promise sought from NZ Government


Promise sought from NZ Government over threat to sacrifice GM food regulation for Free Trade

The New Zealand government is being asked to commit to defending the labelling and regulation of GE products in the face of Australia's threatened back-down on the joint-standards in exchange for a US trade deal.

The regulation of GM products is widely viewed as inadequate, despite being claimed as one of the more strict regimes in the world. However, the authorities do limited testing of GE foods and labelling has many exemptions including allowing unlabelled GM foods to be sold in New Zealand and Australia through cafes, bakeries and restaurants.

A labelling regime is set to finally come into force December 7th this year, but there are fears the New Zealand government will compromise the system as Australia is already considering according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. (see below)

'We want a commitment from our government that this will not happen here. It would be a tragedy if the labelling system - such as it is- is undermined even before it officially begins. " says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

The recent accidents in the US and resulting destruction of crops designed to produce pharmaceuticals like vaccines and insulin is a lesson that US standards for regulating GM are a catastrophe-in-the making.

" We cannot risk Public health, the environment or our economy by accepting the unacceptable compromises being made in the US and now promoted in the name of free trade,' says Mr Carapiet.

" The government must commit now to maintaining the new standards and improving them. They must promise not to abandon them in pursuit of a corporate free-trade agenda."

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