GENTECH archive


NZ and Genetically Engineered Foods

Alliance wins GM food labelling
Thursday, 17 December 1998, 6:40 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Alliance Party

Alliance MP Phillida Bunkle is today hailing the
decision of the Australia-New Zealand Food Standards Council to
introduce mandatory labelling of genetically-engineered foods.

"I am delighted that despite Mr Delamere's posturing, Australian
health Ministers have seen sense and voted to save our
agricultural industry and protect the health of consumers and the
environment now and in the future," Phillida Bunkle said.

The Council is the decision-making body made up of Ministers of
Health from New Zealand, the Australian states and the federal
Australian Government. It determines rules for the production and
sale of food in New Zealand and Australia.

At its meeting in Canberra today, six state Ministers out-voted
New Zealand's Member on the Council, the Associate Health
Minister John Delamere and imposed mandatory labelling.

The decision means that all food produced from crops or organisms
that have been genetically modified must be labelled or removed
from the shelves, whether they are judged by scientists to be
'substantially equivalent' or not.

Phillida Bunkle has been leading the campaign for mandatory
labelling since coming to Parliament in 1996. She has twice had a
Members Bill to promote mandatory labelling narrowly rejected.
The last vote was tied 60-60.

"The National Party and its engineered majority have claimed that
labelling is not practical and contravenes trade obligations.
Fortunately the Australians have more common sense have managed
to recognise the real threat to their sovereignty posed by GM

"It is both feasible and cost effective to trace where food comes
from because tests are now available to detect even tiny
molecules of food that scientists have altered.

"Giant multi-nationals were set to exploit their growing
dominance of food crops by controlling the ownership and
distribution of their modified genes, allowing them to control
the food industry. This decision will put a spanner in their

"Today's decision will protect farmers and their key markets, it
will enable consumers to promote their own welfare and it will
mean that the environment is not exposed to unknown risks. This
is a triumph for consumers, farmers, the environment and the
Alliance," Phillida Bunkle said.