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Green Party's Australian/NZ food labelling push

5 November 2008

Green Party's Australian/NZ food labelling push

The Australian and New Zealand Green parties announced today they will work together to revamp food labelling laws in New Zealand and Australia over the next three years, by seeking to introduce parallel legislation in both countries, and other initiatives.

Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens, who is visiting Auckland, said food labelling was a unique area for trans Tasman Green cooperation because both countries share joint food labelling standards, which are developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) based in Canberra.

"It's time we made food labelling more effective and truthful. At present a lot of food labels are misleading and deceptive and don't tell consumers a lot of information they want to know," Senator Brown says.

"New Zealand doesn't even have mandatory country of origin labelling regulations, and I can't understand why governments would oppose something as basic as consumer's right to know where their food comes from."

Green Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said consumers are becoming increasingly interested in food and they want to know where it comes from as well as what's in it. Consumers are annoyed that a lot of basic information is missing on labels, and that some labels are deceptive.

"It's time we cleaned up our labelling and improved its quality. I know from taking supermarket tours around New Zealand that most consumers can't understand our complex nutrition labelling and would prefer a simpler 'see at a glance' label, such as a traffic light labels which can help consumers identify quickly which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy," she says.

"Consumers also want to know which foods are sustainably produced, and its time we developed carbon footprint labels, as they have in the United Kingdom."

Senator Brown and Ms Kedgley will work together over the next three years to develop clear, mandatory, country of origin labelling, and other food labelling so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.

"We will seek to introduce parallel legislation in our two Parliaments, and develop joint consumer based campaigns on both sides of the Tasman. This will be an example of Trans Tasman cooperation in action."


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