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Tomatoes NZ backs call for country of origin labelling

Media release
9 March 2017

Tomatoes NZ backs call for mandatory country of origin labelling

Tomatoes New Zealand is calling for all political parties to support the bill for compulsory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) following the release of a survey showing New Zealanders want to know where their food comes from.

The Green Party’s private members bill, the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill, is currently before Parliament.

The survey of 1000 people, undertaken by Consumer NZ and Horticulture New Zealand, found 71 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory country of origin labelling. Seventy percent want to buy NZ grown fruit and vegetables, while 60 percent look for the country of origin when purchasing fresh produce.

“Country of Origin Labelling allows consumers to make an informed choice about what food they purchase. It’s time we followed the lead of other developed economies like Australia, the USA, Singapore and the Netherlands, where such labelling is compulsory,” said Mr MacLeod, chair of Tomatoes New Zealand.

“New Zealanders have been asking for clearer labelling of fruit and vegetables for some time. A study of 1000 people in 2015, commissioned by Tomatoes New Zealand, found 85 percent wanted clear labelling to help them identify between New Zealand tomatoes and irradiated Australian tomato imports.”

Some foods, including all imported Australian tomatoes, are irradiated to preserve the food and kill bacteria and pests. New Zealand tomatoes are not irradiated. Food Safety Australia New Zealand already requires compulsory labelling of irradiated produce in New Zealand, although that is being reviewed and may be removed.

“We believe that mandatory labelling should include the country of origin. All consumers have the right to make an informed choice about what fruit and vegetables they buy.

“We look forward to seeing how the Green Party’s private members bill progresses through Parliament. We hope that all parties back it to select committee stage so that consumers’ voices are heard.”

Ends.

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