Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Unlabelled irradiated Australian tomatoes now on NZ shelves

Media release

30 June 2014

Unlabelled irradiated Australian tomatoes now on New Zealand shelves

Kiwis urged to ask retailers if their tomatoes are irradiated

New Zealanders are being urged to once again ask their retailer if their tomatoes have been treated with radiation, as large volumes of unlabelled irradiated Australian tomatoes hit local shelves.

Currently there are tonnes of irradiated Australian tomatoes being imported into New Zealand vegetable markets and food retail outlets nationwide, according to Tomatoes New Zealand.

Food retailers and the hospitality sector are legally required to label or indicate where imported irradiated Australian tomatoes are sold or served. However many are unaware that they have a responsibility to their customers to label the produce as irradiated.

Alasdair MacLeod, Chair of Tomatoes New Zealand, said; “We are asking all food and hospitality retailers, including catering companies, to clearly label their irradiated produce at point of sale and on their menus to avoid any public confusion.”

“We are also urging people to register their complaints with the Ministry for Primary Industries via their hotline number and/or email should they believe irradiated Australian tomatoes are being sold without any labelling or signage provided.”

Tomatoes New Zealand is calling on those importing, selling or serving tomatoes to comply with the New Zealand Food Standards Code, which states all food that has been irradiated, or food that contains irradiated ingredients or components, be labelled or have a label displayed on or close to it stating that it has been treated with ionising radiation.

Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have mandatory country of origin labelling of fresh produce – so unless retailers clearly label irradiated Australian tomatoes, consumers won’t be able to distinguish irradiated tomatoes from New Zealand tomatoes which are never irradiated.

“We acknowledge irradiation is a vital tool to protect New Zealand’s vulnerable horticulture industry from fruit fly and we support its use on at-risk produce,” said Mr MacLeod. “However, we do want consumers to have information at point-of-sale so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to eat irradiated tomatoes. If consumers are unsure of where their tomatoes or any other produce comes from, please ask your retailer for more information.”

In June last year the New Zealand Health Import Standards were amended by the Ministry for Primary Industries permitting Australian irradiated tomatoes to be imported and sold into the New Zealand food and hospitality sectors.

Tomatoes New Zealand continues to work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure the legal labelling requirements for retailers and processors is strongly enforced and monitored.

“We are pleased that the Ministry is taking this issue seriously and continues to monitor and penalise retailers if they refuse to comply with the New Zealand Food Standards Code,” said Mr MacLeod.

“We simply want consumers to be able to tell the difference between an irradiated Australian loose tomato and an un-irradiated New Zealand loose tomato.”

If you believe a retailer is selling unlabelled irradiated produce, you can register your complaint on the Ministry for Primary Industries phone hotline on 0800 693721 or email info@mpi.govt.co.nz.

To learn more about irradiation and the labelling requirements for retailers and processors, please visit the Ministry for Primary Industries websitewww.mpi.govt.nz.

Tomatoes New Zealand represents over 150 commercial fresh tomato growers, with a farm gate value of $110 million per annum, including $8.5 million (195 tonnes) of exports sold in 2013.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

What is irradiation?

The irradiation process involves eradicating bacteria, mould, insects and other pests by using electrical beams or X-rays, or gamma rays which are generated from the radioactive source Cobalt 60.

The irradiation method most likely to be used for tomatoes and capsicums coming to NZ from August is gamma ray irradiation.

To read more about irradiation please visit the New Zealand Food Standards Code website:

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/foodirradiation.cfm

What foods are irradiated currently?

New Zealand already accepts a number of irradiated tropical fruit from Australia that we don’t grow in New Zealand such as mango, papaya and custard apple. These fruits are required to have mandatory labelling.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news