Subject: Feedstuffs; August 7, 2000
The health ministers comprising the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFSC) approved July 28 a resolution requiring strict mandatory labeling requirements for genetically modified (GM) foods.
As adopted, the resolution:
Exempted from these requirements include:
The standard allows an ingredient to contain up to 1% of unintended presence of GM product. ANZFSC also has endorsed the principle of due diligence and verifiable documentation (such as an audit trail) or testing for compliance purposes. It also noted that the protocol for compliance will elaborate on those processes used to produce highly refined food, which means manufacturers will not have to test individual batches of foods produced using such recognized processes. The council said it will keep under review international developments in GM food labeling.
The revised standard is to take effect 12 months from time of publication and be reviewed and a report prepared for the council on its implementation three years from that date. Publication of the resolution is expected in September, which would put the standard into effect by September 2001.
The New Zealand Grocery Marketers Assn. has been generally supportive of the decision, noting it was practical, meaningful to consumers and will minimize associated extra costs. At the same time, the group has noted possible concerns with trade from the U.S., the potential implication that GM food is unsafe and the imposition of more onerous compliance provisions than apply elsewhere. The group also has said it believes few products currently on the shelf would have to be labeled.
Under the resolution, U.S. and other nations' food exports to the Australian and New Zealand markets would need to be labeled consistent with the standard.
Copyright 2000, The Miller Publishing Company, a company of Rural Press Ltd.
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