JESSICA Metiria Turei, thank you very much for your time this morning.
METIRIA Kia ora.
JESSICA I want to start off by asking you why should we be so scared of genetically modified products? Because at the moment, there's no science that it actually harms or kills us.
METIRIA Well, the science does show that there are safety concerns, and so I think what is really at the heart of this matter is the right of people to decide whether or not they want to take the risk, whether they have the right to choose to consumer GMO food or not. So there's two issues here. One is are the standards that are set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand - the food body that approves these foods for consumption in New Zealand - are those standards being met? Are they rigorous enough? And then the other question is, is the labelling sufficient to give families the information they need to decide whether or not to consume GMOs? People might want to avoid them for ethical reasons or cultural reasons, or for health reasons. The question is how much information are they given so they can make that decision?
JESSICA Do you think that New Zealanders should have a right to know what we are putting in our mouths?
METIRIA Absolutely, they should have a right to know, and weve argued for labelling for many years now. We do have mandatory labelling in New Zealand, but there are some exceptions that means that some foods that are made from GMO products are not labelled. So if there's less than 1% content in the food or if they are highly processed - like oils, for example. So not every food that is manufactured from a GMO product in New Zealand is labelled as GMO. So people dont have all the information available to them to make the right choice.