• Wyatt Creech

"Further steps have been taken today to finalise the details of the new labelling regime for genetically modified food," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said following a meeting of Australian and New Zealand Ministers.

The Australian New Zealand Food Council of Australian and New Zealand Ministers has met in Canberra for an update on progress on the new genetically modified food labelling regime.

"The Council decided in August to require mandatory labelling of foods using gene technology and foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

"The Ministers confirmed the principle but sought further work to establish that the regime would not impose unreasonable compliance costs.

"A draft food standard setting out a possible approach to the labelling will be released for pubic feedback.

"We want consumer and industry feedback on this approach. We have also asked for further comprehensive and accurate work to be done on possible costs of putting the regime in place and enforcing it.

"Substantial work has been done on what is needed to ensure consumers get accurate information about any genetic modification of food that's easy to understand. Further work will now be done because we need more comprehensive and accurate information on costs and how the regime will be enforced.

"There is no point in bringing in a labelling regime that leaves consumers unclear and ill-informed," Mr Creech said. "The further work on the logistics of the regime, and feedback on the standard will help ministers when they make implementation decisions early in the new year."

The Ministers will keep a close eye on the next round of work to ensure that by the next meeting the labelling regime could be finally signed off and implemented.