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Federated Farmers Welcomes Labelling Decision

28 November 2005 PR 150/05

Federated Farmers Welcomes Labelling Decision

Federated Farmers is pleased that the Government has decided not to join with Australia in mandating country of origin labelling for food, said Frank Brenmuhl, the Federation's food safety spokesman.

“As the Minister for Food Safety rightly says, there is no link between food safety and country of origin labelling. Mandatory country of origin labelling provides no assurance that food is safe and its imposition would have amounted to nothing more than a crude form of protectionism,” said Mr Brenmuhl.

“New Zealand has consistently opposed other countries’ attempts to impose country of origin labelling for food and New Zealand would have looked hypocritical if we had agreed to bring it here.”

A report by NZIER to Food Standards Australia New Zealand also confirmed that any benefits of country of origin labelling would have been negligible and suggested that in New Zealand the re-labelling costs alone were likely to be in the order of $60 million in the first year, and could have been as high as $110 million.

Mr Brenmuhl said there is nothing stopping food manufacturers from voluntarily labelling their food if it makes sense to do so from a marketing perspective. He said that a number of New Zealand food manufacturers are members of the Buy New Zealand Made campaign. New Zealand's beef and lamb quality mark programme is another example of a successful voluntary labelling scheme.

"Federated Farmers has consistently opposed mandatory country of origin labelling throughout what has been a lengthy consultation process. It is pleasing to see a sensible decision on this issue," concluded Mr Brenmuhl.


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