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New food label advice needs Government action now

New food label advice needs Government action now

The Government needs to urgently commit to implementing comprehensive recommendations just released by Food Labelling Review, the Green Party said today.

“It is the most comprehensive review of food labelling in decades,” Green MP Sue Kedgley said. “If the 61 recommendations are implemented, our woefully inadequate food labels would be vastly improved and consumers would have far more information about what is in their food.

“At the moment, our food labels are incomprehensible to many consumers. You almost need a magnifying glass, a chemistry degree and an additive code breaker to read many food labels, and yet information consumers want - such as where food comes from - is not on labels.”

Recommendations for minimum font sizes on labels and greater prominence for allergen warnings were particularly welcome, Ms Kedgley said, as well as recommendations for mandatory labelling of trans fats and salt, labelling at all fast food outlets, and for traffic light labels.

“I strongly support the call for generic warnings on all alcohol, for the energy content of alcohol to be declared on labels, and for mandatory warning messages about the risks of drinking while pregnant. This recommendation is especially timely as we review our alcohol laws.”

Ms Kedgley said she welcomed the recommendation for the introduction of traffic light labelling, although she was disappointed it would be voluntary in the first instance unless there were health claims on a label.

“I am also deeply disappointed that they have not called for the labelling of all genetically engineered ingredients in food, although they have recommended proper monitoring of GE food.

“It is supremely ironic that the review is calling for Australia’s mandatory country of origin labelling to be extended, while here in New Zealand we don’t have country of origin labelling at all.”

The FSANZ report:
http://www.foodlabellingreview.gov.au/internet/foodlabelling/publishing.nsf/Content/labelling-logic

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