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Govt still to consider country of origin labelling

28 October 2005 Media Statement

Government still to consider country of origin labelling

Food Safety Minister Annette King says Australian and New Zealand Ministers attending today’s Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) meeting in Sydney discussed issues around a proposal developed by for mandatory country of origin labelling of a range of packaged and unpackaged foods, but no decision was taken on its application in New Zealand.

Ms King says that because of the election cycle in New Zealand, it was not possible to take a paper to the new Cabinet before today’s meeting.

“A Cabinet paper has been prepared and will be taken to Cabinet early next month, probably on November 7. New Zealand has a number of days to notify Australia what this country's position will be on any particular standard, and we will be able to do so once the Cabinet has had a chance to consider the issue.

Annette King says there is no link between food safety and country of origin labeling, and food safety is a pre-requisite for all food sold in New Zealand, irrespective of its source. “Country of origin labelling relates only to consumer information.”

New Zealand has consistently argued internationally in the past against mandatory country of origin labeling as a potential barrier to trade and as a protectionist measure.

ENDS

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