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Genetically modified (“GM”) food labelling – a proposed amendment to the Consumer Protection Act regulations

by Paula Kennedy Smith

It has long been argued by large food producing companies that the labelling laws in this country are uncertain.

This argument has often resulted in many of these companies refusing to label food with the relevant GM ingredients.

However, consumer groups say that the correct interpretation of the Consumer Protection Act is that all food which contains 5% or more of GM substances should be labelled.

This ambiguity will be resolved if the new draft laws in circulation are passed as they will compel the food industry to label food containing GM ingredients as such.

The published draft amendments to the regulations state that all local and imported food that contains 5% or more GM ingredients must be labelled as follows: ‘contains genetically modified ingredients or components’.

These draft amendments have been hailed by some as a ‘victory for consumers’ and, if passed, will be following the beginning trend of many other labelling laws across the globe.

To view the draft amendments, please go to: http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=175849

1 November, 2012

**Please note that these comments are summarised, may not be applicable to your particular situation and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult your legal professional should you wish to obtain a formal legal opinion.**