Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor is introducing a Supplementary Order Paper to the Food Bill, requiring mandatory country of origin labelling (CoOl) for food.
“New Zealanders want clear information about their food. They should have the same information and protection our Australian neighbours receive about their food.
“Introducing mandatory CoOL would be a good start.
Compulsion is rarely a good start.
Some, maybe many, consumers do want to know where food comes from and it’s not hard to find it on most food in most supermarkets now.
CoOl’s not hard to do for single ingredient items like fresh fruit, vegetables and meat and it’s happening voluntarily in response to consumer demand.
If it’s not happening fast enough or on enough products then consumers can let retailers know directly – or indirectly by choosing products that are labelled over those that aren’t.
CoOl is more difficult, and expensive, on multi- ingredient products.
Imposing mandatory CoOL on them would add significant costs.
CoOl isn’t a food safety issue, it’s a consumer preference one and action on it should be taken by consumers not politicians.