“Proposed changes to the Food Bill to take into consideration public concern regarding genetic engineering and unnecessary regulation and compliance on community and fundraising groups is a welcome relief. It appears that the same is true for small-scale producers” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.
Food Safety Minister, Nikki Kaye, announced the changes last week which include reinstating the reference to GM foods to make it clear that the Government has the ability to make New Zealand-only standards relating to GM food in the exceptional circumstances set out in the Food Treaty with Australia. Further changes have been made so that gifting, donating and swapping food in non-commercial exchanges is permissible and that fundraising and ‘Kiwiana’ activities such as sausage sizzles and school fairs will not be regulated other than to ensure food is safe and suitable. Nor will it be mandatory that low-risk and very small-scale activities have Food Handler Guidance.
Th Food Bill will replace the current legislation and regulation including the Food Act of 1981 and 34 separate sets of food safety bylaws around New Zealand.
The Bill will now go back to a Select Committee hearing with changes expected to be effective by summer of 2013. It is expected that there will be further public consultation by the Select Committee.
“Kaye’s ability to cut through the dross on this Bill which could impact the charitable activities of our communities is commendable as too is her insight that GM foods should remain a food safety issue and be reinstated. This is especially topical following the recent announcement of a new groundbreaking report analyzing the effects of GM feed on animals. Scientists have found that pigs fed a diet of GM corn and soy experienced numerous adverse health effects, including sever stomach inflammation and an enlarged uterus which can negatively impact fertility. It is likely that all animals in NZ now, unless organic, are given GM supplementary feed” says Swanwick.
Soil & Health – Organic NZ is one of the oldest organic organisations in the world and advocates for the consumer’s right to have fresh, healthy, organic food and water free of GE, pesticides and additives and their right to know what is in their food and water. Oranga nuku, oranga kai oranga tangata. To learn more about what is really in your food subscribe to their Facebook Page and subscribe http://www.facebook.com/OrganicNZ