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6-Regulation: New Zealand's Government seeks comments on voluntaryGE-free labeling

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TITLE:  Labelling of genetically modified food
SOURCE: Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand
DATE:   April 2003

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No fresh fruit, vegetables or meat grown locally or imported into New
Zealand are genetically modified.

Recent legislation imposes a restricted period on applications for the
release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until October 2003. In
this restricted period applications to release GMOs cannot be accepted by
the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA). This would include
applications for the release of any genetically modified fresh food.

Some processed foods may contain genetically modified ingredients if the
ingredients are imported. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ,
formally ANZFA) rigorously assesses the safety of all genetically
modified food. Then the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council must
approve the food before it is sold. The FSANZ website provides a list of
the current approvals. Labelling of genetically modified food

The Government has introduced a new requirement for labelling genetically
modified food in New Zealand. This provides consumers with information to
help them make informed choices about the food they buy. These
requirements relate to food approved for sale on supermarket shelves.

As from 7 December 2001, any food containing novel DNA or protein, or
food that has altered characteristics, must be labelled. There are minor
exemptions for foods that contain flavourings when they are present in
concentrations of 0.1 percent or less, and food prepared at the point of
sale. Discussion Paper on Voluntary GM-Free Labelling

A Discussion Paper on Voluntary GM-Free Labelling was released on 11
April 2003 by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the New Zealand Food
Safety Authority.

A copy of the paper is available to read and print from the Ministy
Consumer Affairs website at

or if you would like a hard copy please contact:

Ministry of Consumer Affairs
P O Box 1473 

Phone: 04 474 2750
Fax: 04 473 9400

Submissions on the discussion paper close on Friday 30 May 2003.

Further information about genetically modified foods and New Zealand's
assessment and labelling requirements is available from:
- Genetic modification website
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand website
- Ministry of Health website.