Released 28 May 2004
This is the report of the Review of Labelling of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods. The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFSC) endorsed the Standard for the labelling of GM food in November 2000 and it was subsequently gazetted in December 2000. At that time Ministers agreed to a 12 month transition, until December 2001, for the new Standard to come into effect. In addition there was a 12 month stock-in-trade provision allowing manufacturers 12 months to sell through stock that had been manufactured prior to the labelling regime coming into effect in December 2001.
In Australia and New Zealand the mandatory labelling of GM foods is a requirement of Standard 1.5.2. When the Standard was agreed to, Australia and New Zealand were among the first countries to adopt a mandatory labelling regime. Consequently, Ministers requested a review be conducted within three years of the date of gazettal of the Standard to consider developments in the regulation of GM foods internationally.
In August 2003, the (now) Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (ANZFRMC) agreed to five terms of reference for the review, including stakeholder consultation requirements. Consultation for the review resulted in the receipt of 472 submissions from Australia and New Zealand: 432 from individuals; 5 from government; 19 from industry; 5 from public health professionals; and 11 from other organisations. Submissions from individuals accounted for approximately 92% of the total submissions received.
The terms of reference for the review are:
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will conduct the review and prepare a report for ANZFRMC, governed by the following terms of reference.
1. Prepare a review of GM food labelling legislation or regulation internationally (proposed and existing), with particular focus on the EU, USA, Canada and APEC countries.
2. Compare the current Australian/New Zealand requirements for GM food labelling with the requirements of countries listed in (1).
3. Examine consumer attitudes in relation to the labelling and acceptance of GM foods, where they have been publicly reported in Australia/New Zealand and those countries listed in (1).
4. Summarise developments in the Codex Alimentarius in respect of a standard for the labelling of GM food.
5. Prepare in association with New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Australian State and Territory authorities a summary of implementation of the GM food labelling standard in Australia and New Zealand and report on compliance and enforcement with the Standard to date.