INDEPENDENT NEWS

About time for GE food checks

Published: Thu 10 Oct 2002 06:32 PM
About time for GE food checks
Following news that illegal StarLink corn was found in Australia, Green Party Safe Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley is relieved that a new monitoring programme for GE in food has finally begun here.
"I have been agitating for a monitoring programme for nearly four years now, so it is well overdue," she said.
"I hope the New Zealand Food Safety Authority will be looking specifically for illegal GE ingredients, like StarLink corn, as well as for GE contamination in unlabelled products."
Ms Kedgley was surprised at the relatively low number of products (50) tested since monitoring began in July.
"There are potentially thousands of unlabelled food products on supermarket shelves which could contain GE ingredients. In fact, the same private Australian lab, GeneScan, that tested the StarLink corn sample was surprised to find nearly one-third of the 1139 products they tested last year were contaminated."
"It's good to see the FSA targeting likely products, but I hope they are also going to test other products like bread and confectionery which are likely to contain imported soy flour."
Ms Kedgley said the monitoring programme was seriously limited by the loopholes in the GE labelling regime.
"The monitoring programme is really only checking that products are correctly labelled. It will not be testing for the GE ingredients which are legally allowed in our food like refined oils, refined starches, additives, colourings, enzymes, take-away and deli foods."
Ms Kedgley said when she had previously tried to get details of the monitoring programme from FSA, she had been asked to put in an official information act request.
"I mentioned that in the first edition of my safe food update, which went out yesterday. I am delighted that the FSA has now made an effort to put the public in the picture about how the monitoring programme works and what it has discovered so far."

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