New Zealand Needs its Own Food Safety Standards Authority 30/08/2020
New Zealand needs to establish its own Food Standards Authority. The call has been prompted over the lack of notification to engage New Zealand consumers and food producers in a review of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Act. 
FSANZ is a trans-Tasman statutory Authority that regulates all Genetically Modified/Engineered/ gene edited foods. The role of FSANZ involves an alarming inherent conflict. On the one hand the Authority’s role is to protect the health and safety of people by maintaining a safe food supply. At the same time it is tasked with ensuring that trade and commerce in food between Countries and States is carried on in a profitable manner with the least burden on business.
FSANZ have approved over 87 GE products into the food chain and never turned down an application. FSANZ has not mandated GE labeling, nor assessed or required safety data on GE foods if eaten over the long-term in either animals or humans. This leaves consumers in the dark over what products might contain GE ingredients and their health effects.
The FSANZ Authority does not assess the safety of agrochemicals used in growing GE crops and has declared that the levels of chemical residues are the responsibility of the APVMA. * The APVMA, however, have responsibility only for assessing chemical residues for crops grown in Australia and does not conduct food safety assessments of pesticide residues in GE foods. 
Such evasion reveals serious problems, because GE foods now contain multiple foreign genes (stacking) inserted to confer resistance to many separate pesticides . FSANZ, with no alternative justification, routinely dismiss, deride, vilify and reject scientific publications showing harm from ingestion of whole GE foods. 
"Nobody is responsible for testing toxic chemical residues in scores of imported GE foods that FSANZ have approved," said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.
"Food safety is significantly undermined by this gap in regulation, but the New Zealand Minister is left as powerless as consumers in being able to address the situation.”
Unfortunately New Zealand's Minister, on the Ministerial Forum where the final sign off on a GE application is made, has no real power to challenge or require labelling, as any vote to protect consumer interests could be considered a trade barrier.
“It is extremely deceptive that FSANZ, a regulatory agency ostensibly set up to protect public health, blatantly disregards scientific evidence of harm when there is no scientific evidence to disprove the research. Peoples lives are more important than unregulated risks for easy trade,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.
"We believe that the trans Tasman FSANZ is not fit for purpose and has many inconsistencies in setting safety standards for GE foods. This is inherently unjust to the public, and there should be a dedicated Food Standards Regulatory Authority in New Zealand."
*APVMA = Agricultural Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Agency
 personal communication
Claire Bleakley – GE Free NZ president 027 348 6731/ 06 3089842
Jon Carapiet – GE Free NZ spokesperson 0210507681