17 Jul 2018

Country of origin labelling bill cut back

1:18 pm on 17 July 2018

Proposed country of origin food labelling legislation has been stripped back by the select committee considering it.

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Photo: 123rf

In New Zealand there is no mandatory labelling system that tells consumers which country the food they are buying is from, other than for wine.

According to Horticulture New Zealand, this is out of step with Australia and over 90 percent of New Zealand's trading partners which have some form of mandatory food labelling allowing consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

A member's bill was introduced in 2016 by former Green MP Steffan Browning to implement country of origin labelling here.

The Consumers' Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill has been before a select committee which has now released an interim report.

The law change was initially intended to cover all single-ingredient foods.

But the committee recommends covering only single types of food - fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and other seafood - which has been minimally processed.

Under these changes, cured meats like bacon, nuts, seeds, grains, tinned vegetable and fruit and mixed vegetables would not require country of origin labelling.

"Detail such as the definitions of foods, what it means for a food to be 'minimally processed', and requirements for how disclosure can be made (e.g. through labels or signage) will be set out in the regulations which will be made after the Bill is passed," the report said.

Public submissions on the bill close on 1 August.