New Zealand supermarket chains are not waiting for new GM rules to take effect next year. They have begun checking the GM status of food sold on their shelves.
Two councils declared their areas GM-free with the intention of removing products with GM ingredients from shop shelves in the region.
The Retail Merchants have written local government Minister Sandra Lee, questioning the ability of councils to ban GM products. "The supermarket industry would challenge that on principle," a spokesman said.
Other industry spokesmen said the decision on GM products could be left to consumers. "If GM products are on the shelves and don't sell, we will remove them," one said.
The chief public health advisor at the Ministry of Health said local authorities could ban GM products if they were deemed detrimental and could also use registration rules to ban GM food from food premises. But he predicted that would lead to court challenges.