13 Apr 2017

Country of origin labelling passes first hurdle

7:42 pm on 13 April 2017

A member's bill proposing mandatory country of origin labelling for food has passed its first reading in Parliament.

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Photo: 123rf

Green MP Steffan Browning's Consumers' Right to Know Bill would have all single-ingredient foods for sale carrying a label identifying which country they came from.

Mr Browning said consumers wanted to know where their food came from and his bill would have no discernible impact on prices.

"They [consumers] will have very clear identification of single item foods so say tomatoes, canned or bottled... flours, oils, meat, fish, nuts, grains. That's excellent for consumers."

Horticulture New Zealand congratulated Parliament for passing the bill, saying more than 70 percent of people wanted country of origin labelling for fresh fruit and vegetables.

"Consumers want to be able to make choices based on their own beliefs and values," it said in a statement.

"They may want to support local businesses, or buy what is in season and grown locally, or help keep and create jobs in their own area, or for that matter, buy products from other countries known for being the best at growing particular produce," Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman said.

The National Party originally indicated it would oppose the bill but its leader, Bill English, said the party's caucus had a change of heart and would support it to select committee.

Only ACT opposed the bill at its first reading. It passed 120 votes to one on Wednesday.

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