Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Voluntary food labelling open to voluntary opt-out

23 June 2009

Voluntary food labelling open to voluntary opt-out

New Zealanders will continue to be denied the right to know where their food comes from if the Government relies on voluntary country of origin labelling, said Green Party MP Sue Kedgley.

The Government has announced it is working on a scheme with retailers and manufacturers whereby they can choose to label single-ingredient foods such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Consumer Affairs Minister Heather Roy is responsible for co-ordinating this voluntary scheme.

“This scheme won’t guarantee consumers the right to know where their food comes from, as any voluntary system will be just that – voluntary,” said Ms Kedgley.

“There are more than 1000 retailers selling meat, fresh fruit and vegetables in New Zealand. Many retailers will likely ignore a voluntary scheme and fail to disclose where produce comes from.”

“We already have voluntary labelling, but there are still hundreds of single ingredient foods that are not labelled as to their country of origin, so consumers remain in the dark as to the origin of their purchases.”

“I intend raising the issue of consumers right to know where their food comes from with Mrs Roy,” said Ms Kedgley.

“New Zealand is lagging behind the rest of the world on country of origin labelling. Most countries, including New Zealand’s major trading partners the United States, Japan and the EU, have mandatory labelling for fresh foodstuffs – why can’t New Zealand?

New Zealand doesn’t have a legal definition of made in New Zealand or product of New Zealand, so consumers cannot even be certain what these statements mean.

Ms Kedgley said all other forms of food labelling systems, such as the ingredients label and the nutrition label, were mandatory and underpinned by regulation, to ensure that claims were fair and accurate, and to ensure consumer confidence in the labelling system.

The Prime Minister John Key stated publicly, prior to the election, that he considers ‘consumers have a right to as much information as is practically possible’ and that country of origin labelling is ‘simple’ and ‘should be occurring’.

The only drawback Mr Key foresaw with providing customers with information showing where their food came from was that some foods contain many different ingredients. Despite this drawback, Mr Key also stated he wanted to ‘advance the level of information flow.’

“Working on a scheme to label food voluntarily is not likely to ‘advance the level of information flow’ – a goal of the Prime Minister,” said Ms Kedgley.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Mediaworks: Three to be sold or closed

MediaWorks has today announced that it intends to sell MediaWorks TV as well as its Flower Street property which includes its television head office and studios.

The intention is for MediaWorks to sell the television side of the business while retaining ownership of radio and QMS. The Flower Street property will also be put up for sale with a lease back option for a buyer to continue to operate television from that location.

MediaWorks Chairman Jack Matthews said that MediaWorks is committed to continuing to grow its business in New Zealand while recognising that free-to-air television operates in a challenging environment. More>>


Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>


Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>


Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>


IPCA: Disasterous Police Pursuit, Excessive Use Of Dogs

At no stage did Police follow the correct procedure for the commencement of a pursuit... A Police dog handler used his dog to help with the arrest of two of the young people. One suffered injuries resulting in his hospitalisation, and the Authority found that the use of the dog was an excessive use of force. More>>


‘Hard Place To Be Happy’: Report On Youth Residential Care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the report, A Hard Place to be Happy, contains important challenges from children and young people, aged 9 to 17, about their experiences in care and protection residences. “I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too.” More>>

Africa And Middle East Refugees: 'Family Link' Restriction Removed

The founder of the Double the Quota campaign has applauded the coalition government for Friday’s announcement that a discriminatory policy would be removed. More>>





InfoPages News Channels