Country of origin labelling passes Parliament

groceriesA bill on country of origin food labelling has passed into law after being voted through near-unanimously by Parliament on Thursday.

The bill was put through by the Green Party, and allows Kiwis to better understand where their food comes from in an effort to provide more consumer power and choice.

“It’s a good day for New Zealanders and for New Zealand producers,” Green Party MP Gareth Hughes said.

“The food covered under my bill includes vegetables, frozen fruit, seafood and meat including cured pork products such as ham and bacon. These are foods with one ingredient, unprocessed or minimally processed.”

Hughes described the bill as a foundation and said there was scope to extend mandatory labelling to cover more foods later through the Fair Trading Act.

The next step, Hughes explained on Twitter, is for the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to make regulations, which will then see the new labels on products within six to 18 months.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman said growers have been asking successive governments for a bill of this kind for more than 10 years.

“Once this bill comes into law, consumers get to choose what to buy with full knowledge of where their fruit and vegetables come from,” Chapman said.

“Our research showed that more than 70 per cent of New Zealanders want mandatory country of origin labelling for fruit and vegetables, so it’s great to see them finally getting what they want.”

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