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'Quality' worldwide agricultural product markets

GE Free New Zealand
www.gefree.org.nz


GE Free NZ in food and environment Press Release 28.11.01

GM conference attendees appear overwhelmingly supportive of tracking systems to allow identification of GE products, supporting the aim to stay competitive in a tough world climate. Indications are that our marketing advantage and New Zealand's reputation as a quality producer of agricultural products will be lost if strict regimes are not introduced to prevent GM contamination of exports.

Coming at a time when world food regulations (CODEX Alimentarius) are looking at traceability issues of GM foods and many major countries are suffering recession, it is important to ensure New Zealand advocates and is happy to adher to strict systems to avoid any loss of New Zealand agricultural export orders.

Dr. Davies from Agriquality, was reported as saying that traceability systems were important 'before consumers find any reason to distrust our food supply' a feeling echoed by another attendee Lynne Davies that systems such as this would 'ensure NZ keeps its reputation for quality food.'

Baking industry's Annette Campbell reportedly commented that GM food labelling would not be nearly as difficult to achieve as nutritional labelling soon due to come into force whereas Grocery Manufacturers Assoc. representative Brenda Cutress said that traceability would be 'prohibitively expensive for foods with several ingredients'.

'This has been the way of misleading the consumer and refusing to support their right to choose GE Free foods for many years now, the responsibility of added costs should be left where it belongs, with the proponents of this debatable technology,' said Susie Lees of GE Free NZ. ' If these foods had been labelled from the outset, we would not now have this problem, there would be no GE foods still on the market, full stop! Consumer choice would have determined this!'

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If the patents and any profits from these crops go to their initiators so too should any costs for labelling, tracking and testing. ' said Susie. 'It is irresponsible to put GE organisms into the system when they have the potential to change the genetic identity of our food, and enable ownership of our staple crops, and when we have so little knowledge of the long term effects of such actions and no liability funds for potential adverse effects exist.'

ENDS
Contact:- Susie Lees 03 546 7966

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