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Thursday, November 19

Commission ruling highlights need for proper GE labelling

Today's Commerce Commission warning that Inghams’ poultry risk breaching the Fair Trading Act by claiming that their chickens are GE-free highlights the need for proper GE labelling laws in New Zealand, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley said the Commerce Commission recognised, in its ruling, that consumers are interested in whether food is genetically engineered or not, and that includes what animals are fed with.

Professor Jack Heinemann of Canterbury University, who advised the Commission, pointed out that there was a difference between animals fed GE soy and animals that weren't. The Commission considered therefore that consumers have a right to know when this occurs.

"The problem highlighted by the Commerce Commission ruling is that New Zealand does not have proper GE labelling, and so consumers have no idea whether genetically engineered ingredients or feed have been used in producing food."

"The Government should take notice of this ruling, and review our labelling laws around GE. Companies should be required to declare on a label when animals have been fed genetically engineered feed, and whether food contains genetically engineered ingredients," said Ms Kedgley.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of labelling at the moment.

"I hope FSANZ will take on board the Commerce Commission ruling and introduce proper GE labelling laws in New Zealand."