Majority polled "Say NO to GE", Public Commands a Mandatory Labelling System

Press release - 2008-02-28
Hong Kong,28th Feb 2008 – Greenpeace releases today its latest survey on “Public Attitude towards GE Foods” at the Centre for Food Safety, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. 96% polls consider it is their rights to know whether the food they consume contains GE ingredients, whereas 97% consider it the government’s immediate liability to set up a mandatory labelling system. The survey result is handed to Dr. Philip Ho, Consultant of the Centre’s Risk Assessment and Communication Division. Greenpeace urges the government to take immediate actions against existing loopholes of GE food monitoring, and return to consumers their rights to choose by implementing a mandatory labelling system as soon as possible. Dr. Philip Ho responded they will make clear on the review on the voluntary labelling system in the Panel on Food Safety & Environmental Hygiene in June.

Greenpeace campaigner, Apple Chow, handed in the survey result to Dr. Philip Ho, Consultant of the Centre’s Risk Assessment and Communication Division.

Greenpeace also played back voices” of public aversion to GE foods earlier and pledges for a mandatory labeling system collected earlier on the streets, as video projection to Dr. Ho, urging to pay heed to the public opinion.

Greenpeace commissioned the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of CUHK to conduct a survey on public attitude towards GE foods. The survey dated last week successfully interviewed 602 citizens. The results show that 96% of interviewees consider it is their rights to know if the food they consume contains GE ingredients, whereas 97% consider it is the government’s immediate liability to set up a mandatory labelling system. 65% of them contend to pay a higher price for GE-free foods. The survey also finds that over 60% of citizens are unaware of the government’s implementation of the voluntary labelling system for GE foods, indicating the year-long exercise of the voluntary labelling system a total failure.

“Over 60% are willing to pay a higher price for GE-free foods, yet consumers are deprived of the rights to choose a voluntary labelling system. The survey shows clearly the public’s aversion to GE foods. A mandatory labelling system is also in adherence of international trend on GE food monitoring practices. We do not see any excuse for the government to drag on implementing a mandatory labeling system.” Food Safety Campaigner of Greenpeace Chow Yuen Ping commented.

Greenpeace earlier collected public opinions on the issue by inviting citizens to express their objection against GE foods and demand for a mandatory labelling system through video documentation. Among those who voiced out, one patently puts that, “the health of the public is paramount that the government must not yield to the commercial sector’s interests.” With the action and release of results today, Greenpeace calls for government’s attention to the true needs of Hong Kong citizens. To return the consumers their rights to choose, a mandatory labeling system has to be implemented as soon as possible.

Greenpeace has exposed the influx of GE foods into the market since as early as 1999, and continues in urging the government to enforce GE food monitoring by putting into effect a mandatory labelling system. Greenpeace released the Review on the Effectiveness of the One-year Implementation of Voluntary Labelling System for GE Foods last week, which shows that the voluntary labelling system is a total failure. To safeguard the food safety of Hong Kong and consumers’ rights, the government is urged to implement a well defined and restrictive mandatory labelling system for GE food.


Video played on-site can be downloaded at the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CysJrlSA1o


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Kenneth Lee, Communications Officer, Greenpeace China

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Chow Yuen Ping, Campaigner, Food Safety, Greenpeace China
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