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Country of Origin Labelling a food safety issue

23 September 2008

Country of Origin Labelling a food safety issue: Greens

It is incredible that the Government still insists on keeping New Zealanders in the dark on the question of where their food comes from, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"In answer to my question in the House today, Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel confirmed her view that country of origin is not a food safety issue.

"Despite the many cases of food contamination in China, Ms Dalziel claimed that food imported here from China is safe because it is monitored to New Zealand standards, yet admitted that there is no testing for melamine in food, which killed and seriously injured so many babies in China."

After other recent concerns with food imported from China - such as unapproved GE-contaminated rice being withdrawn from sale here - some New Zealand consumers legitimately hold fears about the safety of Chinese food products, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Food safety testing cannot possibly detect all the possible risks of fraud and deliberate contamination; of unapproved GE; or of overuse of pesticides.

"The Government must give New Zealanders the freedom to make their own decisions about whether they want to buy food from countries with a poor safety record."

ENDS

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