Manufacturers, Consumers Unite Against Contamination
In Free Market, GE Ingredients Go Nowhere
Beginning December 7, Australian and New Zealand food manufacturers will need to label all processed food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Products manufactured before December 7 will not need labels.
As a result of this labeling requirement, Australia's largest food conglomerate, Goodman Fielder, is eliminating genetically engineered ingredients from its product line. Other manufacturers and grocery chains are also moving rapidly to eliminate biotech ingredients.
In May 1998, the 15 European Union (EU) countries implemented mandatory labeling requirements for genetically engineered soy and corn. By the end of 1998, nearly all the grocery chains and fast food restaurants in the EU had eliminated genetically engineered ingredients from their products.
In the USA, manufacturers claim falsely that eliminating GE ingredients is impossible -- while Europe, Australia and New Zealand are doing it successfully. Here's part of a Sydney Morning Herald article on the subject.
by Mark MetherellFood manufacturers are discarding genetically modified ingredients from their products to avoid having to display GM food labels starting next month. Big food companies are seeking non-GM sources for ingredients.
Despite earlier industry estimates that 40 to 60 per cent of processed foods included GM ingredients, the largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, now expects only "a handful" of its house brands may require GM labels.
The Australia New Zealand Food Authority says some packaged foods containing ingredients from GM approved crops are being sold now. These include foods containing GM cottonseed oil, canola, soybean, sugar beet and potato.
All packaged food with GM ingredients manufactured from December 7 will have to list GM ingredients, with some exceptions relating to highly refined oils and sugars, and flavours.
Industry sources say the recipes for some packaged foods would have to change to meet what are regarded as the world's toughest GM label rules. The changes are not expected to raise prices.
Australia's biggest food conglomerate, Goodman Fielder, says it has changed suppliers of some ingredients - but not many - to meet the new rules. None of its brands would require a GM label, Goodman Fielder's corporate affairs director, Robert Hadler, said.
The company had checked thousands of sources worldwide to ensure they were non-GM.
"The customer is always right and the customer is concerned about the effects of GM ingredients. The major retailers don't want products with GM in them," Mr Hadler said.
The 40-60 per cent estimate of GM food was "a worst-case scenario" estimated before Australasian food ministers agreed to the label regime in July last year. The decision came after a Herald poll showed 93 per cent of Australians wanted GM labels.
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