Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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January 23, 2004

Australia New Zealand consider GMO labelling

Australia is considering a law proposal that would institute a duty to label food ingredients so consumer could see whether they are about to eat genetically modified. This proposal pending in Australia would also affect New Zealand, if passed. The two countries decided in December last year to establish a single agency - Food Standards Australia New Zealand - to deal with health issues on both sides of the Tasman Sea.

Consumers both in Australia and New Zealand who would like to know whether their food is genetically modified are urged to tell the lawmakers. Thanks to Dr Robert Anderson of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of
Science and Technology (PSRAST) ( for the action alert.

Action Alert: Submissions Required for GE Food Labelling bill

The Australian Truth in Food Labelling Bill 2003 is open to submission until February 6th.

This Bill has been introduced to the Australian Senate by Green Senator Bob Brown, and it has been selected for a Senate Inquiry.

It is virtually identical to my private members Bill, the Consumer's Right to Know (Food Information) Bill.

If the Truth in Food Labelling Bill passes through the Senate, then the Australian-dominated FSANZ will be obliged to amend its labelling code to provide mandatory labelling of all GE ingredients in food - and that would be binding on New Zealand!

So it is very important that as many New Zealanders as possible make submissions to the Truth in Food Labelling bill, even though it is before the Australian government. 

Let's make the most of our loss of food sovereignty to Australia through Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), on the one occasion when it may be able to really benefit us.

The Bill may be accessed on the Internet at

Submissions must be lodged with the Committee by Friday, 6 February 2004, preferably electronically as an attached document - email:; or faxed to 0061 02 6277 5829.

Below I have provided some suggestions for your submission.

Submission to the Truth in Food Labelling Bill 2003.

I make this submission to the Australian Senate‚s Selection of Bills Committee as a New Zealand citizen. I request that you consider my submission on the grounds that the agency that will implement this bill should it be adopted, Food Safety Australia and New Zealand, also has jurisdiction over New Zealand food labelling.

My submission is in support of the bill in its entirety.

Sections 10-12

I support a comprehensive GM labelling system in New Zealand that will require the labelling of all foods derived from gene technology, not just those foods that still have detectable levels of GM protein or DNA left after processing, as is the case at present. As a consumer I have a fundamental and universal right to sufficient accurate and meaningful information on a label to enable me to make informed food-purchasing decisions. The need for accurate, truthful and meaningful food labelling is recognised by all the major national and international food standard setting agencies, including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission. The current FSANZ labelling provisions do not provide sufficient meaningful information. New Zealand and Australia have lagged behind the European Union (EU) in implementing labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods that meets consumers needs. 

The concept of labelling on the basis of method of production is well recognised within New Zealand, Australia, and internationally, through the provision of Organic labels where organic certification is based on the method of production rather than presence or absence of any material in the resulting food.

Section 13

I support the labelling of animal feed. This will assist animal producers to make informed choices and to assist traceability of GM material in the food chain. This will ensure continuity of information should the end use of a product, such as a grain, change.

Section 14

I support the reduction of the threshold from 1% to 0.5% for exemption from labelling of foods that are inadvertently contaminated with GM material from.

I support the threshold for non-approved GM material remaining at its current level: zero.

These are technically achievable levels and consumers want this information so we can make informed purchasing decisions.

Section 15

I support the introduction of a robust traceability system to ensure the labelling accurately reflects the presence or absence of food or feed ingredients produced from GM technology.

FSANZ has no requirements for traceability, and this omission has resulted in very slack practices by many of the food manufactures and importers in New Zealand as revealed by the NZFSA's June 2003 report "Assessment of Compliance with Standard 1.5.2":

- Only 42 percent of manufacturers and 47 percent of importers had current information on the GM status of their foods.

- Only 50 percent of manufacturers and 32 percent of importers had verification steps in place.
6 percent of manufactures and 26 percent of importers didn't even bother to get assurances from suppliers about the GM status of their foods.

The obligation of traceability will facilitate quality control, verification of labelling claims, and also the possibility of withdrawing products should unforeseen adverse effects to human health or the environment be found to occur. It also facilitates the monitoring of the potential effects that the GMOs could have on health and the environment. Traceability allows for consumers and livestock producers to exercise their freedom of choice, and their right to make informed choices, in an effective manner.

Section 17-18

I support mandatory country of origin labelling for all packaged and unpackaged meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. This information is crucial in order for me to make informed purchasing decision, and I submit that I have a right to know where the food I purchase comes from.

Section 20

I support full public disclosure of all information gathered by the government or required to be gathered by the government on residues in foods from pesticide, heavy metals, industrial chemicals or by-products, veterinary medicines and any other contaminants. This information is vital for making informed purchasing decisions and I submit that I have a right to know what contaminants have been found in our food.

Iona Pannett/Jeltsje Keizer
Executive Assistants to Sue Kedgley MP
Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Ruma 13.05 Bowen House
Parliament Buildings
Te Whanganui-A-Tara
Waea: 04-470-6717 Waea Whakaahua: 04-472-7116
Karere Rorohiko:


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday January 23 2004
updated on Sunday November 21 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

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Subject: US Firms Lie About GM Crops From: Lapis | All Lapis's Messages | Date: 00:24 Oct 16 2003 (22 days ago) US firms 'tried to lie' over GM crops, says EU By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor The Independent - 14 October 2003 American biotech companies tried to lie to Europe in an attempt to force genetically modified crops upon them, Margot Wallström, the European environment commissioner, said yesterday. Far... [read more]
November 09, 2003 - Chris Gupta

Independent Science Panel on GM
Dozens of prominent scientists from seven countries, spanning the disciplines of agroecology, agronomy, biomathematics, botany, chemical medicine, ecology, histopathology, microbial ecology, molecular genetics, nutritional biochemistry, physiology, toxicology and virology, joined forces to launch themselves as an Independent Science Panel on GM at a public conference, attended by UK environment minister Michael Meacher and 200 other participants, in London on 10 May 2003. The conference coincided with the publication of a... [read more]
June 08, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

GM crops like thalidomide say insurance companies
Major agricultural insurance companies are refusing to underwrite risks of genetically modified crops in what appears to be a prescient way of avoiding future losses. Comments from the insurers liken the hidden liabilities of genetic modification with the desaster of Thalidomide, a drug which in the early sixties gave us thousands of deformed babies (who grew up into thousands of seriously handicapped adults) after great sales hype had convinced everyone,... [read more]
October 13, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

EU Allows Monsanto GM Maize - Move Called 'A Disaster'
US biotechnology industry giant Monsanto, has successfully pressured the European Commission into officially accepting 17 of its genetically engineered varieties of Maize to be cultivated in Europe. Monsanto enlisted the help of the Bush administration, which complained to the WTO over European 'intrasigence' on the question of GM in agriculture. One would think that the disastrous GM experience in Argentina and more recently in Mexico should have taught us something,... [read more]
September 08, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Agriculture: Chemicals GMO Failing - Try Organic, Sustainable
A recent discovery presages production of hydrogen - not by electrolysis but by the effects of catalytic action and sunlight on water. In the ensuing discussion on this post, the question turns to what would be needed to afford economically decent conditions to the billions of people in developing countries. It appears that both water and energy will be important, but even more decisive than these factors will be low-input... [read more]
October 09, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Thailand: World Health Organization Urges Research Into Safety Of Transgenic Foods
In what seems to be the first high level admission that we really don't know whether genetically modified foods are beneficial or damaging to health, the World Health Organization's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has called for more research into the health risks possibly posed by transgenic foods. While consumer rights activists called for application of the precautionary principle, already in force for environmental toxins, to transgenic foods, FAO's assistant... [read more]
October 14, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




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