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Move To Block GM/GE Free Labelling

2nd May 2001

Move To Block GM/GE Free Labelling Will Leave Consumers In Dark


Surprise moves by Australian bureaucrats to block companies from labelling products " GM Free": will deny consumers' the choice politicians claim they support, and makes a farce of the labelling regime planned for launch late this year. Almost two years after the decision was made to label ALL foods produced by gene technology, the only way people can tell what they are eating is either by eating organic or from voluntary GE/GM Free labels. It is these voluntary labels that are now under threat and which may well be prohibited if biotech interests are served by intergovernmental agreement at world food standards Codex Alimentarius meetings in Ottawa.

South Africa and Australia, whose regulatory body ANZFA the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority decides what New Zealanders eat, are proposing that negative labelling comes under scrutiny now although not part of the current mandate for this round of talks. The tone of the proposal is threatening to company's trying to source and sell GE-free foods.

"They realise labelling it is the only way the customer has complete choice to buy GE Free, and that's why they are trying to fight it. The labelling coming into force in December will have so many exemptions of foods produced using gene technology anyway, but blocking what the biotech industry is describing as "negative labelling " ( because the label says 'it doesn't contain GE!!)is a direct attack on consumer choice. Negative labelling is seen as a threat to world domination of GE foods." said Susie Lees of GE Free NZ.

At present over 70% of processed food products in our supermarkets have some ingredient produced with the use of gene technology and as contamination of conventional varieties continues, less and less GE Free food will become available. A recent high court case in Ottawa set a precedent when farmer Percy Schmeiser was fined thousands of dollars for unwittingly growing GE crops, after Monsanto GE canola pollen blew onto his farm.

"It appears seed stocks including heritage varieties are being targeted for contamination, New Zealand farmers need to be aware of this, their independent values will be compromised and further growing of patented crops could well lead us all down the road to bioserfdom. The government must ensure seeds coming into the country now are 100% GE Free." said Susie, " Instead of attacking the right for companies to label GE-Free, the officials should be stopping the contamination of seeds, and hidden GE ingredients being used by corporations supporting GE but not telling their customers."

Ends

More info contact- Susie Lees 03 546 7966 email Susie@tasman.net


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