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Mandatory Labels for GE Foods in
Australia and New Zealand Next Year

Feedstuffs (magazine) Aug. 7, 2000

Mandatory GM labeling approved in Australia
By a Feedstuffs Staff Editor

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:

* Requires labeling of food and food ingredients where novel DNA and/or
protein is present in the final food, and

*
Requires labeling of food and food ingredients where the food has altered
characteristics.

Exempted from these requirements include:

* Highly refined food where the effect of the refining process is to remove
novel DNA and/or protein;

* Processing aids and food additives except those where novel DNA and/or
protein is present in the final food;

* Flavors that are present in a concentration less than or equal to 0.1% in
the final food, and

* Food prepared at the point of sale.

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 nationsí food exports to the
Australian and New Zealand markets would need to be labeled consistent with
the standard.

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