Conference to tackle Baby food safety

Susie Lees

The government must take note of recent evidence of high levels of pesticide residues in baby food to fulfill its mandate to ensure foods are safe.

Recent reports to the Primary Production Select Committee come hot on the heels of other submissions on the dangers of GE foods.

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European standards are much higher than that of New Zealand.

Their maximum residue levels are lower and monitoring of chemicals and animal testing of GE foods is routine. Even in China, some toxic chemicals and GE variants used in food in New Zealand are banned. We have a lot of catching up to do if New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is to continue.

The Primary Production Select Committee will report to Parliament in the New Year after its review of the chemical loading in baby food, and decision whether to reassess approved GE food in light of recent scientific evidence of harm to human health.

European reassessment

In the European Union, reassessment takes place after a 10-year approval; the same does not apply in Australia and New Zealand, where many GE variants have been approved for much longer without review.

There are some toxic chemicals entering our food chain that have no maximum residue limits, the default position should be that none of these chemicals is found in our food chain.

Government representatives must acknowledge the evidence and not hide behind studies performed by those corporations that lobby them while making profits from the contamination of our food.

We are bringing independent evidence to the Capital (Wellington) which should not be ignored and will be accessible to all at our conference.

Important Conference

The Food Matters Aotearoa Conference will bring internationally and nationally recognised experts to Te Papa, Wellington in February 2015 to discuss these problems and offer solutions to increasingly downgraded New Zealand food production.

They will consider a variety of ways to reduce chemical inputs on farms and ensure newer technologies in genetic modification are regulated properly.

Members of Parliament, regulatory agencies and farming groups have been invited to attend the Conference.

It is the responsibility of the government to keep up to date, come, and hear the evidence.

Susie Lees is the Spokesperson for Food Matters Aotearoa, a partnership of business, community, education and organic groups. She can be reached on 021-0543492.

The Conference Tour will visit Christchurch (February 9 &10), Wellington (February 14 & 15), Hawkes Bay (February 16 & 17), Auckland (February 19 & 20)

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