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NZ must heed European baseline for GE labelling

NZ must heed new European baseline for GE labelling

Auckland 5 December 2002: Greenpeace is calling on the Government to bring New Zealand’s GE labelling in line with the European Union’s strict new labelling legislation. The EU decision on labelling GE food and feed coincides with the one-year anniversary of New Zealand’s poorer equivalent (Saturday 7 December).

“The new European Labelling regulations further highlight the value of New Zealand’s GE free producer status and the weakness of our own GE labelling regulations,” said Steve Abel Greenpeace GE Campaigner.

Labour promised in 1999 to label “any food derived from GMO’s11 Labour Key Policies 1999, GM FOODS AND ORGANISMS Labour will: legally require labelling of any GM food, whether "substantially equivalent" or not, and any food derived from GMOs. Labours "White Paper on GMOs" 1999: Labour in government will require that genetically modified food, and food derived from genetically modified organisms, is labelled as such."”. Greenpeace has sent a letter to Health Minister Annette King calling on her to fulfil this promise and follow the EU lead by labelling all imported GE feed and all GMO derived foods.

“At the very least GE labelling should give people and producers the choice to not eat or use GE derived ingredients. New Zealand’s current legislation fails to do that”.

When the new European Regulation on Genetically Engineered (GE) Food and Feed comes into force, no GE product will be allowed unlabelled into the EU market. All GE food and food ingredients, including highly processed derivatives such as sugar, refined oil and starch, produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), will have to be clearly labelled. And for the first time, GE feed will be labelled in the EU.

Under New Zealand’s one-year-old labelling regime processed foods derived from GE crops are not labelled unless there are detectable levels of DNA in the finished product, and animal feed is not labelled, which allows thousands of tonnes of feed, such as GE soy, to anonymously enter the food chain every year.

A separate new EU regulation will set up a thorough ‘traceability’ system in order to follow food and food ingredients consisting of, containing or produced from GMOs across all stages of the food processing and distribution chain to the final product. The most important practical effect of this new regulation will be that no GMOs can enter the European market unlabelled.

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