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Better to be safe than sorry - Greens

9 October 2008

Better to be safe than sorry - Greens

The Green Party is calling on food safety authorities to take a precautionary approach and test fruit and vegetables imported from China, following reported possible finds of melamine contamination in other countries.

"In the last 12 months more than $20 million worth of fresh, frozen and processed fruit and vegetables were imported into New Zealand from China," Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.

"International media reports have raised concerns that some Chinese fruit and vegetables could be contaminated by fertilisers or pesticides which contain melamine.

"If there is any chance that New Zealanders are unwittingly consuming products contaminated with melamine then we must act immediately to find out.

"While Food Standards Australia New Zealand has said its Australian investigators would carry out a safety assessment in Australia, I believe it is far better to be safe than sorry and undertake random testing to try to ensure that imported Chinese fruit and vegetables are melamine free.

"This new scare yet again reinforces the need for mandatory County of Origin labelling. Shoppers should have the ability to know where their food comes from, so in cases like this they can chose whether or not they want to buy these products for themselves and their families," Ms Kedgley says.

"Without mandatory Country of Origin Labelling shoppers are often left in the dark about where their food comes from."


ENDS

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