Coun­try of ori­gin on pro­duce la­belling is passed

Manawatu Guardian - - FROM THE BEEHIVE -

Ki­wis will fi­nally be able to iden­tify where their fruit and veges come from af­ter the Con­sumers’ Right to Know (Coun­try of Ori­gin of Food) Act passed its third read­ing in par­lia­ment last week.

Con­sumer NZ head of re­search Jes­sica Wil­son said manda­tory la­belling was re­quired be­cause re­ly­ing on re­tail­ers to vol­un­tar­ily la­bel pro­vides prod­ucts had failed to give con­sumers the in­for­ma­tion they needed.

She said that the law change was a much-needed first step to­wards bet­ter coun­try-of-ori­gin la­belling.

“Con­sumers in­creas­ingly want to know where their food comes from so they can make in­formed choices about what they buy. Our re­search has found strong sup­port for manda­tory la­belling with seven out of 10 con­sumers back­ing it,” she said.

The law change will mean fresh or frozen fruits, veg­eta­bles, meats, fish and seafood will be re­quired to dis­play their coun­try of ori­gin with fines of up to $30,000 for fail­ure to com­ply with the rules.

La­belling re­quire­ments will be set in a con­sumer in­for­ma­tion stan­dard which will ap­ply to fresh pro­duce six months af­ter it’s is­sued, and to frozen pro­duce 18 months af­ter.

Ms Wil­son said the Min­is­ter of Com­merce and Con­sumer Af­fairs Kris Faafoi also had the power to ex­tend the stan­dard to re­quire la­belling of other foods.

“We’ll be push­ing for that to hap­pen. At a min­i­mum, all sin­gle-in­gre­di­ent foods should be re­quired to dis­play a coun­try-of-ori­gin la­bel,” she said.

Con­sumer NZ’s sur­vey re­search showed 65 per­cent of shop­pers looked for la­belling in­for­ma­tion when buy­ing fresh fruit but less than a third, 32 per cent, al­ways found it. Even fewer, 29 per cent, al­ways found la­belling in­for­ma­tion when buy­ing fresh veg­eta­bles.

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