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

 

Company Results: Air NZ Rides The Tourism Boom With Record Full-Year Earnings

Air New Zealand has ridden the tourism boom and staved off increased competition to deliver the best full-year earnings in its 76-year history. More>>

ALSO:

New PGP: Sheep Milk Industry Gets $12.6M Crown Funding

The Sheep - Horizon Three programme aims to develop "a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030," according to a joint statement. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Milk Price

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 50 cents to $4.75 per kgMS. When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $5.25 to $5.35 before retentions. More>>

ALSO:

Keep Digging: Seabed Ironsands Miner TransTasman Tries Again

The first company to attempt to gain a resource consent to mine ironsands from the ocean floor in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone has lodged a new application containing fresh scientific and other evidence it hopes will persuade regulators after their initial application was turned down in 2014. More>>

Wool Pulled: Duvets Sold As ‘Premium Alpaca’ Mostly Sheep’s Wool

Rotorua business Budge Collection Limited (Budge) and sole director, Sun Dong Kim, were convicted and fined a total of $71,250 in Auckland District Court after each pleading guilty to four charges of misrepresenting how much alpaca fibre was in their duvets. More>>

Reserve Bank: Labour Calls For Monetary Policy To Expand Goals

Labour's comments follow a speech today by RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler in which Wheeler sought to answer critics who variously say he should stop lowering interest rates, lower them faster, or that inflation-targeting should no longer be the primary goal of the central bank's activities. More>>

ALSO:

BSA Extension And Sunday Morning Ads: Digital Convergence Bill Captures Online Content

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government’s plans to update the Broadcasting Act to better reflect today’s converged market... The Government considered four areas as part of its review into content regulation: classification requirements, advertising restrictions, election programming and contestable funding. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news