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NZ Food Safety Authority removes GE free NZ

NZ Food Safety Authority removes GE free NZ

GE Free (NZ) members have expressed frustration and dismay after their removal by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) from its Consumer Forum. ( The Consumer Forum was set up to discuss consumer concerns).

"This removal is totally unexpected" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment "The reasons NZFSA given have been erroneous and have sought to mislead."

GE Free (NZ) was censured at the last meeting after they reported a matter from the consumer forum without asking permission of the members. However, the Consumer Forum members voted that they were on final notice.

For the last four years GE Free (NZ) has been part of the NZFSA consumer forum. It has played an active and positive role in all the forum programmes and dialogues.

GE Free NZ has so far met all the criteria for representation at the forum. The issue of GE foods is seen as critical, given that these foods cause adverse health conditions in experimental animals and that effects on humans are completely untested. The NZFSA states that it has a clear policy mandate to implement and enforce decisions around food safety. This then is the job of NZFSA to develop and enforce regulations around composition and levels of GE in foods. They also are required to monitor and enforce labelling of products known to contain GE foods as set out in their memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australia," said Ms Bleakley.

It is thought that the NZFSA's recommendation to reject the Country of Origin labelling without explanation and its close ties to industry may be the reason that GE Free (NZ) has been removed from the forum.

At the last meeting GE Free (NZ) submitted a research proposal outlining tests for glyposate residues in GE soy and corn. This proposal will be voted on at the meeting the group has been removed from. With no representative to talk to the research proposal, there is a likelihood it could be removed from the list.

Finding higher than permitted residues of glyphosate in GE corn and soy products could mean that a massive recall of many processed products would have to be carried out," she said. "Whatever the reason, the NZFSA have not communicated effectively, they have not produced timely, accurate, relevant information over this issue and we ask that GE Free (NZ) is reinsated before the Wednesday 12th July meeting."


ENDS


References:

Letter received from NZFSA and an OIA request.
NZFSA Profiles www.nzfsa.govt.nz/about-us/profile/index.htm?print

Consumer ground breaking glyphosate research

Survey of glyphosate, and its degradation product AMPA, residues in wheat

Glyphosate in targeted foods (potatoes)

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