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Tomatoes New Zealand Encouraged By Minister Kaye’s Move

Media release

Tomatoes New Zealand

Friday, 24 May 2013

Tomatoes New Zealand Encouraged By Minister Kaye’s Move On Irradiated Produce

Tomatoes New Zealand says the decision not to enforce compulsory individual labelling of irradiated Australian tomatoes and capsicums is disappointing, but the industry organisation believes their concerns have been heard.

In a letter to Tomatoes New Zealand received this week, the Minister for Food Safety Nikki Kaye said she understood Tomatoes New Zealand’s concerns with ensuring irradiated produce was clearly labelled and wanted to work with the organisation to ensure labelling requirements are enforced.

Alasdair MacLeod, Chair of Tomatoes New Zealand, says; “We called for Minister Kaye to put in place tougher labelling requirements for irradiated tomatoes.

“While she has not agreed to individual labelling of loose irradiated tomatoes or capsicums, she has said she will ensure all irradiated produce is clearly labelled at point-of-sale, which was one of our major concerns.

“We’re heartened by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) advice to the Minister, that where irradiated Australian and non-irradiated New Zealand loose tomatoes are mixed together in the same bin, a sign saying ‘some of the tomatoes have been irradiated’ is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the existing requirements under the (FSANZ) Code and a retailer’s obligations under the Fair Trading Act 1986 to ensure information about products is truthful.

“We will be working actively with MPI to ensure the legal labelling requirements in food outlets, including restaurants and cafes are diligently enforced and monitored.

“Our concern is ensuring New Zealand consumers receive the appropriate information about where their food comes from and how it has been treated. Clear labelling at point-of-sale will ensure consumers can make an informed choice, which is their right.

“The power for change now lies with consumers. If the information at point-of-sale doesn’t clearly identify whether your tomatoes have been irradiated, then we urge New Zealanders to ask their local retailer. No New Zealand tomatoes are irradiated.”

It is MPI’s responsibility to ensure the FSANZ Code is enforced throughout all retail outlets, catering operations and processed foods.

Tomatoes New Zealand is the industry organisation that represents New Zealand’s 150 commercial fresh tomato growers.

ENDS

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