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Consumers want country of origin labelling on fruit and veg

New Zealanders want country of origin labelling on fruit and veges

More than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fruit and vegetables, a joint Consumer NZ and Horticulture New Zealand survey shows.

"Seventy-one percent of New Zealanders want to know where their fresh, tinned, and frozen fruit and vegetables come from, and 70 percent also want to buy New Zealand-grown," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says. The survey showed only nine percent disagreed with mandatory CoOL.

"On behalf of our 5500 commercial fruit and vegetable growers, Horticulture New Zealand wanted to compile evidence to show the government the need to follow many other countries, including our nearest neighbour Australia, and have mandatory CoOL for fruit and vegetables.

"New Zealand law does not require the country of origin for fruit and vegetables to be disclosed to shoppers at the point of purchase. We want that to change. We hope the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill before parliament is voted through to select committee, so New Zealanders can tell the government directly what they have told us in this survey," Mr Chapman says.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says the survey showed the voluntary system was not working.

"Of the 65 percent of people who looked for labelling information on fresh fruit, less than a third found it at all times. The numbers were similar for vegetable buyers."

Ms Chetwin says the results confirm strong public support for labelling. "The majority of consumers think it should be mandatory for fruit and vege retailers to display country of origin information. The results send a clear message to political parties that the law needs to change," she says.

Mr Chapman says the survey was nationally representative, conducted by a reputable organisation, and the results were clear.

"If you drill down, four out of five people buy fresh fruit and vegetables at least once a week, and most of them support mandatory CoOL," he says.

Results of the survey can be found here.

The results have a margin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% confidence level. They are based on an online survey of 1066 New Zealand adults. Age, gender, and region quotas were used and statistical weighting was employed to ensure the sample’s composition the New Zealand population according to Census data.

ENDS


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