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NZ: mounting pressure on Government to support GMO labelling

There is mounting pressure on the Government to push for all food, animal feed and seeds that may contain genetically modified organisms to be labelled when the issue is discussed at a biosafety conference in Brazil next week. A visiting South African farmer and advocate of poor farmers in Africa, Thoko Makhanya, says unlabelled shipments pose a huge threat to countries there.

Ms Makhanya is calling on the New Zealand government to help protect African countries by shifting its stance on GMO labelling when it joins the third meeting of the Cartagena Protocol, which starts on Monday. Ms Makhanya says developed countries such as New Zealand have the infrastructure to be able to identify and deal with unwanted GMO shipments but in Africa, it is a different story.

But Simon Terry of the Sustainability Council says the Cartagena Protocol also has the potential to be a leading tool in checking the unintended flow of GMOs into New Zealand. And he says the Government needs to shift its stance on the issue, arrived at at the Montreal meeting, where along with Brazil it opposed the labelling of unintended GMO content in food and feed.