Supermarket Audit Reveals Zero GE Labels

December 10, 2001

An audit conducted by Friends of the Earth in a Brisbane supermarket has exposed the inadequacy of the new GE labelling laws with not a single product found to contain a GE label.

Exemptions and concessions in the labelling laws introduced on December 7th have meant that even though many products contain ingredients produced using genetic engineering, few, if any products are labelled as such.

"The new labelling laws have deceived the public into a false sense of security about their ability to reject food produced using Genetic Engineering," said Daniel Franks, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Brisbane.

Food additives, processing agents, and refined foods where the genetically modified DNA and proteins are removed from the product are all exempt from labelling, even though the GM ingredient may make up the bulk of the product. Take-away foods, food prepared in restaurants, animal feed and ingredients containing less then 1% unintended GM component will also remain unlabelled. The GE industry also gained another concession recently with a twelve-month amnesty on the labelling of all food produced using GE before December 7th.

"The public deserves clear and unambiguous labelling of all foods produced using genetic engineering, but what we have got is a labelling regime that deceptively pardons most of the foods containing genetically modified ingredients from mandatory labelling."

"Citizens who wish to exercise their right to choose products based on health, environmental, ethical or religious criteria will have their choices undermined and will unknowingly consume products made using genetic engineering."

The audit also identified a healthy component of organic products in the supermarket sampled. " Organic foods and foods labelled 'GE-free' seem to be the only option for people wishing to avoid GE food," Daniel Franks concluded.

For more information contact:

Daniel Franks or John Hepburn
Ph: (07)3846 5793
Mob: 0415 927378
Website: www.brisbane.foe.org.au