GM labelling laws tighten up in Australia

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Ministers meeting on
Wednesday approved stricter labelling for genetically modified
foods and a new food standard setting safe levels of
chloropropanols in soy and oyster sauces.

Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Ministers meeting on Wednesday approved stricter labelling for genetically modified foods and a new food standard setting safe levels of chloropropanols in soy and oyster sauces. Following recent food safety questions linked to soy sauce ministers agreed to an amendment to the Food Standards Code to set a maximum level in soy and oyster sauces of 0.2 mg/kg for 3-MCPD and 0.005 mg/kg for 1,3-DCP. The Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) recently recalled fourteen imported soy and oyster sauce products after tests showed that they contained unsafe levels of the chloropropanol 3-MCPD, a chemical contaminant known to cause kidney damage. 3-MCPD and the related chloropropanol 1,3-DCP (a potent carcinogen) may be formed during a manufacturing procedure known as acid hydrolysis. Chloropropanols are not an issue for soy and oyster sauces made by natural fermentation. From 7 December 2001, all food containing novel genetic material or protein in the final product must have its GM status identified on the package or, in the case of unpackaged foods, near the food. Ministers discussed, and agreed to, a transitional arrangement for those genetically modified foods which may be on the shelf prior to 7 December 2001 when the new labelling requirement comes into effect. All products manufactured on or after 7 December must be labelled. The minsters also made a minor change to how the carbohydrate values of food could be calculated by manufacturers for inclusion in Nutrition Information Panels on food labels. The amendment to the Food Standards Code will allow for the carbohydrate content of food to be calculated by either the current method ' by difference' or by analysis. This will allow manufacturers to use a definition of carbohydrate that aims to give accurate information to consumers about the carbohydrate content of their food, while retaining flexibility to select the method of calculating carbohydrate best suited to their food product. Packaged foods must have a nutrition panel on the label by December 2002 listing energy (kilojoules), protein, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (salt).

Related topics: Regulation & Policy

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