Country origin labelling success but not for meat
Success on country-of-origin labelling – but not for meat!
A Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ) proposal for mandatory country-of-origin labelling on all imported unpackaged fish, fruit and vegetables is good news for consumers, but should be extended to cover imported meat as well, Green MP Sue Kedgley says.
“FSANZ is to be congratulated for insisting on mandatory country-of-origin labelling for unpackaged foods, in the face of intense opposition from the New Zealand Government,” Ms Kedgley said. “But it’s bizarre that thousands of tonnes of imported, unpackaged meat are exempt from mandatory country of origin labelling.”
“Last year we imported 24,358 tonnes of meat from countries as far-flung as China, Thailand and Canada. Why on earth should consumers be denied their right to know where all this imported meat comes from?”
“It’s obvious that intense lobbying from the meat industry, which has fiercely opposed mandatory country-of-origin labelling, is the reason for the proposed exemption.”
Ms Kedgley said she was also concerned that, under the FSANZ proposal, there is no requirement for ingredients to be labelled. “This is totally unsatisfactory as consumers want to know where ingredients come from as well.”
Under the FSANZ proposal, packaged food can be labelled either with a country-of-origin label, or with a statement declaring that the food or ingredients were ‘imported’.
“Consumers want to know which country the food is imported from, and a label should reflect this consumer right to know.
“Many consumers want to buy New Zealand-grown produce to support local growers and to avoid the damage to the environment caused by transporting food around the globe. But in the absence of country of origin labelling, consumers can’t figure out whether they are buying New Zealand-made or imported produce.”
The FSANZ proposal for mandatory country-of-origin labelling for food is open for a final round of submissions until May 4. After this date, FSANZ will make its final decision on mandatory country-of-origin labelling.