Senators join GM babyfood campaign

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 30th September 2010

Greenpeace babyfood protestIndependent senator Nick Xenophon and Greens senator Rachel Siewert have lent their support to the Greenpeace campaign against unlabelled GM food content, saying they will introduce a joint bill tightening Australia’s food labelling laws.

The two senators joined a group of protesting mothers, and Professor Peter Collignon, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit and Microbiology Department at Canberra Hospital, to denounce the presence of unlabelled genetically modified foods on Australia’s shelves.

The move comes after revelations last week on Channel 7’s Sunday Night that Greenpeace research, with independent verification by the network, found traces (below 0.1%) of genetically modified soy and maize in Pfizer’s popular S-26 Soy formula.

Canberra, 30 September 2010: Mothers demanding action on contaminated baby food are delivering the world’s biggest bottle of baby formula to Parliament House in Canberra this morning. The women are calling on Health Minister Nicola Roxon to give Australians the right to know what’s in their children’s food following revelations of unlabelled genetically modified organisms in baby formula.

Small groups of mothers staged sit-ins at two supermarkets on Monday, demanding that Coles and Woolworths remove the formula from their shelves, and attaching “Contaminated” labels to shelf stock.

“This contamination of baby formula makes a mockery of Australia’s labelling laws,” said Greenpeace Campaigner Laura Kelly. “Australian parents have a right to know what goes into their –and their children’s – food. Big pharma are abusing the loopholes in our labelling laws and Australians are being forced to eat in the dark.”

In fact, FSANZ regulation currently allows up to 1% unlabelled genetically modified content of any ingredient in Australian food, leaving Pfizer well within current rules.

“GM has not undergone the testing necessary to establish safety for adults, let alone babies,” said Kelly. “We need the Government to ensure all foods containing GM ingredients are labelled without exception.”

No information is currently available about GM content of other items in the S-26 range of infant formulas.