Industry News

Push for country of origin labelling

MP Gareth Hughes (Green party) is confident his country of origin food labelling Bill will pass into law this year, to the benefit of Gisborne’s horticultural sector.

The Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill, which requires country of origin labelling on all fruit and vegetables and other single component foods sold in New Zealand, passed its first reading unanimously last year. Hughes was delighted with the cross party support.

About 50 percent of New Zealand’s major trading partners -including Australia- required country of origin labelling for food, Hughes said, while New Zealand requires it for imported clothing and footwear, but not food.

“Some 60 percent of pork and 96 percent of shrimp and prawns are imported with very little information provided. Horticulture New Zealand estimates 90 percent of the countries that buy our horticultural produce require country of origin labelling. Many New Zealanders are wondering: if it’s good enough for Aussies and Brits, why isn’t it good enough for us?” further quoted Hughes as saying: “Consumer New Zealand found 72 percent of Kiwis support labelling of fruit and vegetables and 65 percent of consumers looked for labelling information on their food products. Consumers want to know where there food comes from, how it was grown, how animals were raised or about their labour practises. It’s about providing more information so consumers can exercise their power. Horticulture New Zealand also supported country of origin food labelling."

Mr Hughes said the Bill could have a significant impact on the Gisborne region, given the significant role horticulture played in the local economy