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Safe Supports Product Labelling Bill

13 April 2006

Safe Supports Product Labelling Bill

Over 45,000 New Zealanders have signed a nationwide petition calling for the mandatory labelling of egg cartons to prevent consumers being misled when buying eggs. Petition organisers national animal advocacy group SAFE say the petition adds weight to calls by the Green Party to tighten New Zealand’s labelling regulations using a Private Members Bill.

“Consumers are being confused, if not misled, every time they visit the supermarket. Inadequate labelling regulations permit companies to exclude vital information consumers have a right to know in relation to ingredients and production methods. Intensive egg producers, for example, deliberately exclude stating their production methods and use terms such as ‘Country life’, ‘Farm fresh’ and ‘Farmyard’ which mislead consumers. Battery caged hens do not have a country life nor live on an idyllic farm setting,” says SAFE’s campaign director, Hans Kriek.

Consumer surveys overseas suggest that 75 per cent of consumers do not know how ‘Farm Fresh’ eggs are produced, and that around 30 per cent believe these eggs are free range. SAFE believes the same confusion applies to other products.

“A survey of supermarket shoppers carried out by the Paul Holmes show in 2005 revealed widespread confusion amongst New Zealand consumers. The same concern applies to other foodstuffs and commercially produced products,” said Mr Kriek.

SAFE welcomes the Private Members Bill drafted by Green Party MP Sue Kedgley. SAFE believes the bill is line with the European Union, which has already introduced mandatory labelling, particularly with regard to egg cartons.

“The Bill provides an opportunity to make companies more accountable for what they produce and offer to consumers. Any company that doesn’t support proper labelling is surely not taking a responsible and sensible approach to helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions,” said Mr Kriek.

ENDS

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