A FOOD guide revealing which companies are believed to be using undeclared genetically engineered (GM) ingredients will step into a breach left by the Government’s failure to reform inadequate food labelling laws, the guide’s publishers say.
Greenpeace released its Truefood Guide yesterday, with Cadbury, Western Star, Kraft and Woolworths, along with the baby food producers Karicare and Nutricia, among the dozens of companies named because they either do not have a clear non-GM policy or have refused to reveal whether they use GM ingredients in their products.
Nestle, Foster’s and Schweppes are among the hundreds of companies listed which have instituted a ban on the use of GM ingredients.
The guide comes as locally grown GM canola oil is about to enter the human food supply for the first time, making its way into a wide range of products from margarines and dairy products to breads and confectionery.
Consumers will have no way of knowing whether they are eating food made from GM ingredients, however, because oils, starches and sugars are some of the products the Australian food regulator has exempted from mandatory labelling regarding their GM status.
Greenpeace’s GM campaigner, Rochelle Porteous, said the guide would equip Australian consumers with the same level of information enjoyed by people living within the European Union, where all GM ingredients must be labelled on processed foods.
”Consumers have a fundamental right to know what’s in their food and how it is produced,” she said.
A comprehensive review of the country’s present labelling laws was announced by a joint state and federal government ministerial council on Friday.
But the council’s decision to allow food manufacturers to continue concealing the trans fat content of their products has angered health and nutrition experts.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has defended the decision, arguing that manufacturers in general were reducing the amount of trans fat they used and the average Australian was consuming less of the fats than the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of less than 1 per cent of total energy intake.