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New tests mean no excuses over labelling

New tests mean no excuses over labelling

Australian Prime Minister John Howard's efforts to have a soft GE labelling regime have been dealt a blow by new testing technology which can detect GE ingredients at just 0.1 per cent.

Mr Howard has been pushing for foods with less than one per cent of genetically engineered ingredients to be exempt from labelling as he claims testing for low levels is too unreliable and expensive.

However Green MP Sue Kedgley said a testing system used by British retail chains, European and Asian government agencies and the Australian Agrifood Technology routinely detects levels of GE ingredients at 0.1 per cent.

"News of the availability and reliability of these tests, as reported in today's Sydney Morning Herald, shows the Australian Federal Government's efforts to secure a weak labelling regime have more to do with keeping on side with big biotech business than with limits on testing technology," said Ms Kedgley.

Ms Kedgley said Mr Howard's proposed labelling scheme would walk all over consumers' rights to know what they are eating.

A one per cent threshold would leave three-quarters of food containing GE ingredients without labels, according to the Australian Consumers Association.

ends

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