Safe Food Campaign
Media release: 12 April 2006
Consumers have the right to know
Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from, whether it has been genetically engineered and how the food was produced. The Safe Food Campaign supports Sue Kedgley's Consumer's Right to Know (Food Information) Bill, which has just been selected from the parliamentary ballot box and is due for its first reading in Parliament in the next few months.
New Zealand currently imports a lot of meat from overseas, but, as a Green Party survey found, most of it is not labelled with country of origin labelling. The survey found that only 30 out of 101 lamb, beef, pork and bacon products were labelled with where they came from. "If a consumer wants to support New Zealand-made products, under the present regime of no country of origin labelling, this is made very difficult, " stated Ms White, spokesperson for the Safe Food Campaign. "This surely runs counter to the Government's policy of supporting New Zealand goods ". Even in the US country of origin labelling is required for all imported food.
At present if a processed food contained GE ingredients in New Zealand these do not have to be declared unless they contain protein or DNA. In contrast, in Europe any foods derived from genetic modification have to be labelled.
"We want a much stricter system of labelling in New Zealand. The consumer has a right to know whether ingredients have been genetically engineered or not. Foods such as canola, soy, maize and their derivatives may be genetically engineered, but with no compulsory country of origin labelling and a labelling system that is too loose, we just don't know, " commented Ms White.
There is no regime in place to even encourage processors of eggs and fish to mention how they are produced. Fish is not usually labelled as to whether it is wild or farm-produced, for example. "Once consumers know that farm-produced fish tends to contain more undesirable residues, they will want to choose wild or organically raised fish, " said Ms White.
"We encourage consumers to contact their MPs and let them know they should support this important bill" concluded Ms White.
For more information contact:
Alison White, Co-convenor Safe Food Campaign
ph (04) 476 8607 or
mobile: (021) 1699 120.