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Australian shoppers demand right to chose GE free
Australian shoppers demand right to chose GE free
Nine out of 10 Australians want all GM food labelled: poll

According to the poll,(1) when asked if food products from GM crops and animals fed with GM feed should or should not be labelled, 90% of the respondents said they should be labelled. Only 2% of the respondents said they would be more likely to buy a product if they knew it contained GM ingredients, as opposed to 54% who said they would be less likely to buy it.

Current laws inadequate

It is quite evident that Australians want to avoid GM food and they want it clearly labelled.

However, glaring loopholes in our current labelling laws do not leave shoppers with a choice. Such laws exempt oils and products derived from animals fed GM feed from being labelled. GM canola is now being grown in Victoria and New South Wales (the first time in Australia), and will slip into the food chain unlabelled through canola oil, which is used in a wide variety of products and as animal feed.

According to CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, Michael Moore, “It is really difficult to understand why there has been resistance to labelling of all genetically modified food. It is appropriate for individuals to be able to make their own decisions about what they wish to consume. This is why labelling is a key element of any sensible policy on such foods.”

Unlike Australia, European regulators have responded to public demand and introduced stricter labelling laws.

Don Lazzaro, CEO of Pure Harvest, one of Australia's largest manufacturers and distributors of natural and organic food, observes: “In response to consumer demand, labelling laws in Europe now require even highly processed GM ingredients like canola oil, and animal feed to be labelled. This shows that better labelling is practical and cost-effective, and, most importantly, it gives consumers the information they need to make an informed choice.”

Petition for comprehensive labelling laws

A broad variety of organisations have joined Greenpeace in launching a national petition demanding the comprehensive labelling and stringent safety testing of GM food.

So far, 20 organisations—including the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society and the State Conservation Councils—have endorsed the petition.

These organisations join over 150 of Australia's leading chefs and a growing number of Australians who are demanding choice for consumers when it comes to GM food.


1. Newspoll polled 1200 Australians aged 18 years and over.

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