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Quality Toolbox - Product Documentation - GMO status
Product Documentation > GMO status

Hawkins Watts New Zealand has monitored the introduction of genetically modified crops since the 1990’s, and their effect on food ingredients.

Today large percentages of the North American soy and corn crops are classified as genetically modified. GM crops are also becoming widespread in South America, and there are vast amounts of soy and corn shipped to Asia every year for further processing.

Crops such as soy and corn are commonly used as the base material for many food ingredients, so it is vitally important that we maintain traceability of our ingredients back to these raw materials.

We consider there are two defining pieces of legislation:

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.5.2 - Food Produced Using Gene Technology:
www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/F2008B00628

The Consumer Guarantees Act (1993):
www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0091/latest/DLM311053.html

The Food Standard 1.5.2 states the following:

For the purposes of this Division – genetically modified food means food that is, or contains as an ingredient, including a processing aid, a food produced using gene technology which –
(a) contains novel DNA and/or novel protein; or
(b) has altered characteristics;

but does not include –
(c) highly refined food, other than that with altered characteristics, where the effect of the refining process is to remove novel DNA and/or novel protein;
(d) a processing aid or food additive, except where novel DNA and/or novel protein from the processing aid or food additive remains present in the food to which it has been added;
(e) flavours present in the food in a concentration no more than 1g/kg; or
(f) a food, ingredient, or processing aid in which genetically modified food is unintentionally present in a quantity of no more than 10g/kg per ingredient.

One of the key phrases is “novel DNA and/or novel protein”...

The vast majority of ingredients are derived from raw materials that are not subject to genetic modification.

However for ingredients which may be cereal or grain based, regardless of country of origin, we have developed systems to monitor and control these situations. For example one North American supplier contracts Farmers to grow non-GM crops, then runs these crops through the factory in dedicated production campaigns to produce ingredients we refer to as Non-GM.

Hawkins Watts New Zealand has also worked closely with North American suppliers who manufacture ingredients from what may be mixed crops. The ingredients are tested for the absence of “novel DNA or protein”, to ensure compliance with section 4(1) of standard 1.5.2. We refer to these products as being GMO DNA Negative.

The Consumer Guarantees Act (1993) states in section 9(1)

...where goods are supplied by description to a consumer, there is a guarantee that the goods correspond with the description.

Therefore if the food manufacturer wishes to make a claim such as “Non GM”, it is vitally important that the supplier of ingredients has complete traceability back the crops to ensure compliance with this statement. Unlike the Food Standards, the Consumer Guarantees Act is absolute and any claims must be able to be verified. There is no margin for error.

Through our Food Safety Program we are able to provide traceability and information for all ingredients supplied.


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Hawkins Watts New Zealand,
43 Maurice Road,
PO Box 12-347, Penrose,
Auckland 1642,
NEW ZEALAND.

P    +64 9 622 2720
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