INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt. ready to betray consumers on GE labelling

Published: Thu 27 Jul 2000 01:54 PM
Government ready to betray consumers on GE labelling
The Government looks ready to betray consumers by breaking their election promise to label all GE food, says Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.
"This promise was as important to many consumers as the promises on Labour's pledge card," she said. A recent UMR insight poll showed over two-thirds of New Zealanders are concerned about GE food.
"But not only is the Government ready to break that promise, they are taking a position on labelling which is even weaker that the previous government took last year at the ANZFA meeting. At least last year's agreement would have covered all GE food."
"New Zealand should show the same guts and leadership on GE labelling as it did in banning nuclear ships," said Ms Kedgley. "This country should lead the pack, instead of putting our tail between our legs and running for cover."
In the House this week, Annette King said New Zealand "need[s] to be as close as possible to the emerging European Union position", indicating highly refined oils, sugars, food additives and processing aids would not be included.
Most foods on our shelves containing GE ingredients would not be labelled under this regime.
"This type of watered-down labelling would be incredibly confusing for consumers and totally adequate. When consumers go into the supermarket, they want to know whether there are any ingredients derived from GE organisms, not whether there are measurable amounts of altered DNA in their food," said Ms Kedgley.
Ms Kedgley said the Government line that New Zealand and Australia could not have a more stringent GE labelling regime that our trading partners was "complete twaddle".
"Many other countries already have more stringent general labelling regimes than us, including nutritional requirements in the US and labelling for mechancially recovered meat in Europe."
"What's more, domestic requirements to label GE food would not affect our exports - which only have to be labelled according to the requirements of the country they are exported to."
Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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