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GE food labelling on US TPP hit list

GE food labelling on US TPP hit list

The Key Government must resist attempts by the United States to abolish mandatory labelling of genetically engineered food in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The United States Government’s 2010 report on Technical Barriers to Trade explicitly identified New Zealand as a country with mandatory GE labelling rules that they would like to abolish (1).

Furthermore, the industry body that represents US genetic engineering companies, the Biotechnology Industry Organisation, made a submission on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the US Government in which it called for the US to push for GE labelling rules that only apply if the “product has been significantly changed” (2).

“The current TPP negotiations are about far more than trade,” said Dr Norman.

“New Zealand’s ability to make its own laws and regulations is currently in the hands of officials meeting behind closed doors in Auckland.

“New Zealand’s laws on mandatory labelling GE ingredients are already weak, but the US Government and corporations want to get rid of them altogether,” said Dr Norman.

“The US states that it opposes mandatory GE labelling as it suggests to consumers that the food is ‘less safe’.

“The individual’s right to choose is supposed to be what the American dream is all about yet the US Government is pushing to take this freedom away from New Zealand consumers.

“Our Government should stand up for New Zealander consumers’ right to know what’s in their food,” said Dr Norman.

Links to US documents:

(1) USTR, 2010 Report on Technical Barriers to Trade, p.52.

www.mac.doc.gov/japan-korea/nte/2010tbt.pdf

(2) Biotechnolgy Industry Organization Submission on TPP, 11-3-09

www.bio.org/foodag/action/20090311.pdf

ENDS

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