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Minister admits lack of labelling 'misleading'


Consumer Minister admits lack of labelling 'misleading'

Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard admitted in Parliament today that the absence of labelling on meat and other produce alerting consumers to where the produce comes from, could be misleading consumers.

Green MP Sue Kedgley said she found it astonishing that, given this admission, the Government could continue to vehemently oppose introducing mandatory country of origin labelling of food.

"When I asked if Ms Tizard if the absence of country of origin labelling on imported meat, fish and other produce could mislead or deceive consumers into believing they were eating New Zealand-grown products, the Minister admitted it was true that consumers could be misled.

"In light of Ms Tizard's admission, I call on her to immediately begin developing regulations requiring mandatory country of origin labelling of food in New Zealand. As Consumer Affairs Minister, she has this power under the Fair Trading Act.

"New Zealand already has country of origin labelling regulations for footwear and clothing under the Fair Trading Act. It is completely unfair and bizarre that New Zealanders can find out where their jandals and T-shirts are from, but not their meat and vegetables!" Ms Kedgley said.

"I am also calling on Food Safety Minister Annette King and Government officials to cease campaigning against mandatory country of origin labelling at the trans-Tasman food standards setting body - Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

"Australia has it, New Zealand consumers want it. Only the New Zealand Government is opposing it - for no good reason."

ENDS

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