It seems a David vs Goliath battle yet one that New Zealandersrepeatedly engage in and win – our right to freedom: whether fromnuclear power or legislation that eases the way for more GE food in our food chain.
So it should come as no surprise that the recent legal ramifications of The Food Bill have created such a public outcry. “Whilst the purpose of the Act is Food Safety, amendments in the latest draft compromise that,” says Soil and Health Association spokesperson Debbie Swanwick.
In the latest draft of the bill, ‘genetic modification of food’, which had been in a list of things requiring food safety consideration under the minister’s regulatory power, was deleted. Now it is up to the trans-Tasman body Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to determine the safety of GE foods and to date they have approved all of the 53 applications of 71 GE plant lines.
“New Zealanders won’t tolerate our food chain being compromised further by legislation that enables GE food producers easy access to our markets. We need the initial wording reinstated into legislation to secure the safety of our food,” Swanwick says.
The compliance costs of the bill on small organic growers could also disadvantage consumers, whose choice could become skewed toward nutrient-poor GE food produced by multi-nationals because organic growers are being financially ousted by bureaucracy.
The Food Bill 160-2 (2010) raises many issues – food sovereignty being only one. The level of force allowed by food safety officers, their immunity from prosecution and the powers of the minister are others.
The bill has been awaiting its second reading in parliament since February of this year.
Soil & Health – Organic NZ has an Organic 2020 vision – for a GE Free food and environment with clear choice of what is consumed.
Oranga nuku – oranga kai – oranga tāngata. Healthy soil – Healthy food – Healthy people.