GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 3rd  June 2004

GM Labelling Failure puts Brand Reputations On Line

The latest labelling rules that fail to align Australasia with Europe will encourage consumers to continue their unofficial boycotts of brands. The Grocery Manufacturers Association does its members a disservice when it claims a higher standard of labelling in the EU is impossible here.

In Europe, there is no evidence of the 7% price increase in food claimed by this organization, who backs standards for New Zealand that position us as second-rate. But as consumers avoid some brands the winners will be supermarkets whose house-brands have a commitment to avoiding GM-derived  ingredients. The new Australasian GE labelling regime is deceptive, as it exempts hundreds of hidden GE ingredients in foods. 

In store this is a problem as consumers struggle to differentiate between companies sourcing GE free ingredients, (and GE Free animal feedstuffs), in response to their customers concerns, and those that refuse to remove GE ingredients and hide behind the rules. GE food may also be being dumped into restaurants and takeaways where no labels are required.

It is also concerning that baby soy milk companies have chosen to persist in using GE soy in their formulas. Consumers are fighting for information. The new Greenpeace winter food guide shows many companies have made a great effort to source GE Free ingredients. Support is going to manufacturers who respect their customers by listening to the consumer and removing the ingredients from their products.

"We cannot put our children, families, the ill and elderly at risk due to the FSANZ flawed labelling regime," says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment. In the last few years there have been many studies showing that animals have suffered significant changes to their livers and internal organs. GE constructs have even been found to
cross the placental barrier to the foetus. 

It was also found in the only human eating study ever, that GE survived through to the small intestine. Until our Australasian food authority has improved our labelling regime to the standard of other countries across the EU, companies get away with short-changing people. For now customers will have to rely on the food guide. 

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

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