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13 April 2017

Country of origin labelling a step closer

Right to Know Bill passes its first reading in Parliament.

Kiwis are one step closer to being able to identify where their fruit and veges come from after the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill passed its first reading in Parliament yesterday.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin was delighted the bill cleared this hurdle.

“Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from. Without this information it’s very difficult for them to make informed choices,” Ms Chetwin said.

“It’s what the majority of us want.”

Consumer NZ’s recent survey with Horticulture New Zealand revealed 71% of New Zealanders wanted mandatory country of origin labelling for fruit and vegetables. Only 9% didn’t support mandatory labelling.

The survey also showed the existing voluntary approach to labelling wasn’t giving consumers the facts they needed to make informed choices.

65% of shoppers said they looked for labelling information when buying fresh fruit but less than a third (32%) always found it. Even fewer (29%) always found labelling information when buying fresh vegetables.

Consumer NZ supported this bill from the outset and called on political parties to do the same.

The bill requires all single component foods to display their country of origin. This includes packaged and unpackaged foods.

Consumer NZ urges consumers and other interested parties to have their say on the bill at select committee stage.

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