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Posts Tagged ‘genetically modified’

Australian Food Labelling Review: Respond by May 14

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on March 26th, 2010

Source: Climate Action Calendar

Image: allaboutgeorge via flickr CC

Australian food labelling is currently under review. The initial round of submissions closed in November last year. Although the review was only open for one month and received minimal publicity 6000 people responded to it. The Review panel has released an Issues Consultations Paper along with 39 questions for the next round.

Unfortunately the paper brushes off concerns about GM, irradiation and nanotechnology in food and is misleading:

  • Section 3.1 of the paper states that GM food must have a label. In fact loopholes in the current food standard means that most GM food escapes labelling.It is estimated that up to 70% of processed food contains GM ingredients. How many GM food labels have you seen?
  • Section 3.11 implies that GM, nano-technology and irradiation have no public safety concerns
  • Section 3.16 implies that labelling GM, nano-technology and irradiation will cause these technologies to be “inhibited”. This truly bizarre statement prompted MADGE (Mothers Are Demystifying GE) to issue a media release saying “If, as this review suggests, GM, nanotech and irradiation only have a future if they are hidden, consumers need to be extremely concerned.”
  • Section 2.5 lists the objectives of FSANZ, our food standards agency responsible for food labelling, as:
    • (a) the protection of public health and safety;
    • (b) the provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices; and
    • (c) the prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct.

It appears to be failing on all three accounts in reference to GM food, irradiation and nanotechnologies.

There are concerns that if GM food labelling does emerge it will in fact be “non-GM” labelling. This means that ordinary food would need labelling (GM free – 0% GM or non-GM – some GM contamination allowable if accidental) while GM ingredients would be seen to be the norm and so escape labelling. The costs of testing, labelling and also the liability for being sued if food labelled either “GM free” or “non-GM” is contaminated, would lie with any farmers, food manufacturers or retailers trying to produce GM free food.

Please consider putting in a submission to the labelling review. Public hearings are being held throughout Australia from March to May. Sign up to attend one.

MADGE will be studying the review and putting out suggestions. If you would like to help or have any comments on what you want to see on food labels please email

Dr Shiv Chopra blows the whistle on food safety

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on June 19th, 2009

Sourced from Real Food, Friends of the Earth’s sustainable food campaign.

When: 23 June 2009
Where: Green Building, 60 Leicester St, Carlton.
Time: From 6:30 PM
Bookings: Gene Ethics

Dr. Shiv Chopra is called a hero by David Suzuki and Vandana Shiva and speaks out against seed and chemical giant Monsanto. His evidence to the Canadian Parliament exposed dangerous foods, including genetic manipulation (GM) bovine growth hormone.


Photo of Canola Flowers by Flying Snow via Flickr

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Concerned over GM-crops?

Posted in Seeking by Virginia on March 17th, 2009

Concerns about Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops and foods must be framed by a broader context. In 2009, Gene Ethics and an Alliance of GM-free groups will discuss the many strands of thought and action on how agriculture can be made sustainable for this and future generations, giving all people secure access to affordable and nutritious local foods.

Please have your say here:

A small sample of contemporary writings on these key topics follows, to begin:
‘Free markets haven’t delivered on food and won’t
By Adam Wolfenden

With the food, environment, water and global economic crises it’s hard to think of an area vital to our lives in which free market theory hasn’t failed us. The future of food must be considered afresh, not just a repetition of the same old ideas.

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