A PROPOSAL to require food labelling of even tiny quantities of genetically-modified (GM) ingredients would result in all foods being labelled as possibly containing GM material, an industry body says.
Matthew Cossey, chief executive of the pro-GM plant science organisation CropLife, said companies would do that to limit liability for possibly breaching labelling laws.
He said testing was sufficiently advanced to show up even tiny quantities of GM material in food.
“I would think you would nearly get to the safe position that they simply put on the label on everything that this may contain GM material to ensure that they don’t expose themselves to any action,” he told a parliamentary committee.
Greens’ senator Rachel Siewert suggested this was an admission that GM material was right through the food supply chain.
“That’s what you are arguing,” she said.
Mr Cossey agreed, but he added that GM material hadn’t entered the food supply chain until it was proven to be safe.
He said CropLife believed there was no need for the mandatory labelling of GM food ingredients.
The Senate community affairs legislation committee is considering a bill, proposed by Senator Siewert and independent senator Nick Xenophon, which would require development of a standard for the labelling of genetically-modified material, irrespective of the amount or how it came to be present.
Current food labelling laws do not require label disclosure of GM content of less than one per cent.