Supermarket giant Coles has joined the organic industry in speaking out against genetically modified food as State Governments appear closer to lifting of their bans on the commercial growing of GM food crops.
When asked what Coles' position was, at a Parliamentary forum on Tuesday, Coles representative Chris Mara stated that, 'Coles listens to our customers and over 90 per cent do not want GM ingredients in their food and Coles whole private label range of
'Smart Buy', 'You'll Love Coles' and 'Coles Finest' exclude all GM ingredients in response to customer concerns'.
The statement follows similar sentiments from Goodman Fielder, Australia's largest food company, Tatiara Meats, Australia's largest lamb exporter and 250 other food companies calling on the State Governments to extend their bans of GM food crops.
Biological Farmers of Australia spokesman, Scott Kinnear, said, if genetically engineered crops were introduced in Australia, non-GE and organic farmers will have to bear the crippling costs of testing, segregation, supply chain management and will be held liable if they sell non-GE product that is contaminated.
'Australian farmers will lose valuable export markets and the country will lose its lucrative GE-free status forever,' Mr Kinnear said.
SOURCE: BFA and FarmOnline.
2.Federal Labor's policy on GM crops and foods
Media Release 23 November 2007
Just a day before the election, the Labor Party has joined the Greens and Democrats by promising tougher labelling laws on genetically manipulated (GM) foods. In an email message received overnight Shadow Agriculture Minister Kerry O'Brien says:
*'A Rudd Labor Government will develop comprehensive labelling for genetically modified food in Australia to provide an additional level of information for consumers.'*
'If Labor delivers on this promise, it is great news for food processors and shoppers,' says Gene Ethics Director Bob Phelps.
'The community is now kept in the dark on the GM content of many everyday foods as the Howard government has exempted most GM products from labelling.
'It also sounds as though Labor in government would be more inclusive and that's a good sign.
For instance, Senator O'Brien's letter says:
'Federal Labor recognises ongoing community concern about genetically modified crops being grown in Australia. Safe and beneficial standards must be established beyond reasonable doubt and standards must be met to the satisfaction of the government, the scientific community, the consumer community and the farming community.
'More open-ness and full GM and GM-free labelling on all foods and animal feeds are essential for farmers, processors and shoppers to get the real GM-free choice that over 90% of Australians want,' Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500 (O) 03 9889 1717 (H) 0408 195 099 (M)