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Bill aims to ensure consumers know more about thei

30 March 2005

Bill aims to ensure consumers know more about their food

Consumers may soon know much more about the food they are eating, thanks to a Green Party Private Members' Bill pulled from the ballot today.

The Consumer's Right to Know (Food Information) Bill is based on the concept that people have the right to have food labelling that provides accurate and meaningful information so that they are able to make informed purchasing decisions.

"New Zealanders deserve to know what they and their families are consuming. I am pleased this Bill could soon see the laws around food labelling strengthened," Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The Bill would provide more stringent rules around the labelling of foods containing GM ingredients and make it much easier to track those products through production, distribution and marketing stages.

It could also see consumers more easily able to choose locally produced goods over imported ones with a provision for country of origin labelling.

Consumers of eggs, concerned about the treatment of chickens, could also soon be able to make purchase decisions based on how the hens are kept. Packaging will have to identify whether the hens are kept in cages, barns or are free range.

It also requires Government to make available to the public all information it gathers in residues in foods from pesticide, heavy metals, industrial chemicals or by-products, veterinary medicines or any other contaminants.

"It is true that we are what we eat, therefore it is important that consumers are fully informed about what it is they are putting into their bodies," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS

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