1.GM-food ingredient label laws for review

GM WATCH COMMENT: Regarding item 2, seems some people have learned nothing from the crisis in the US rice industry brought about by GM trials.

1.GM-food ingredient label laws for review
by Anne Calverley The West Australian, 7th December 2006

The Federal Government plans to review food labelling laws amid fears that consumers are unwittingly eating genetically modified foods.

Parliamentary secretary for health Christopher Pyne said yesterday he would follow up concerns raised by The West Australian this week that seemingly tough Federal laws demanding that food labels list all GM ingredients did not extend to highly refined products such as sugars and oils.

State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance backed a change to the laws to take into account that some people would not buy food with any GM ingredients to discourage production of them.

The Office of Gene Technology Regulator does not require labels on refined food products because makers claim that GM ingredients are not evident in the final product.

Shoppers have no way of knowing whether items such as baked goods and dairy products are made from GM products, which critics dub Frankenstein food. And consumer advocates say more GM-derived food will be imported because of the drought. GM canola from Canada recently landed on the east coast.

Mr Pyne said the GM labelling issue could be raised at the Food Ministers' Council next April.

Mr Chance said he did not believe any changes would put any great cost on food makers.

"It may be time to change the laws from an ethical point of view to address any resistance from the public to eating GMOs," he said.

"I would rather not eat GM oil that has come from a GM commodity, not because I believe it's unsafe, but so as to not encourage the production of GM products."

ABC, National Rural News, 21/12/2006

Victoria's first crop of genetically modified wheat could be in the ground as early as next year, despite a state moratorium on commercial crops of GM canola.

The Government has applied for a permit and hopes to have trials of the drought resistant wheat approved by June next year.

Dr Bruce Kefford from the Department of Primary Industries is confident of the trial's success.

"This is work we have done in collaboration with the CRC for Molecular Plant Breeding, some colleagues in South Australia, and other parties.

"There are actually a number of lines which have a number of potential treatments for drought resistance in them and we've got about thirty lines that will be trialled in quite small trials if it's approved".