So far there have been more than 50 GM food applications in Australia. All have been approved.

-FSANZ, Food Standards Australia New Zealand

So far there have been more than 50 GM food applications in Australia. All have been approved.

It is up to the companies that develop GMOs to research and determine the safety of their own products.

The agency responsible for approving GM foods and crops as safe is FSANZ, Food Standards Australia New Zealand. The FSANZ website explains:

Is company data used during the assessment of a GM food? The responsibility for demonstrating the safety of any new food product on the market lies with the developer of that product.

“Why does FSANZ not do its own independent testing of GM foods? Companies involved in the development of GM foods spend millions of dollars rigorously testing their products according to these requirements, which include detailed documentation of testing.”[1]

Civil society groups have drawn attention to serious weaknesses in the GMO regulatory process.2 These are similar to the weaknesses of the European regulatory system – unsurprisingly, as the Australian system is based on the EU system.

Labelling:  The law says GM foods must be labelled.4 But loopholes in laws and lack of testing and enforcement mean that many foods derived from or containing GM ingredients escape labelling.2 3 For example, oil made from GM canola or soybeans, and meat or milk products from animals fed GM feed, do not have to be labelled. GM contamination unintentionally present at less than 1% does not require labelling.4

 

References:

1.      Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Safety assessment of genetically modified foods. September 2007. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/gmfoods/safety.cfm

2.     MADGE Australia Inc. Fed up with FSANZ! October 2012. http://www.madge.org.au/fed-up-with-fsanz-report

3.      Sales L. Eating in the dark: How Australia’s food regulator is failing us on genetically engineered food. Greenpeace Australia Pacific. October 2008. http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/Food/resources/reports/rep-eatindark-211008/

4.      Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Labelling of GM foods. October 2012. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/gmfoods/gmlabelling.cfm