Peak horticulture body for Queensland, Growcom, says that the Today Tonight report on vegetables from China entering Australia via New Zealand without being labelled as Chinese demonstrates the need for Australia and New Zealand to cooperate on better Country of Origin labelling laws.
Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said that while not perfect, Australia did have Country of Origin labelling laws, but in New Zealand there is no requirement for a food manufacturer to identify the source of contents of their product.
“Growcom has long advocated for clearer Country of Origin labelling laws in Australia, and will continue to do so. Reports of food badged as being from New Zealand but actually originating from a third country are quite concerning,” Mr Livingstone said.
“With an increasingly close economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand, it would make sense for both countries to sit down and decide on clear, uniform Country of Origin Labelling laws that would properly inform customers on the origin of their food,” Mr Livingstone said.
“The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are just two established forums where this could be discussed and formulated,” Mr Livingstone said.
“Consumers have consistently stated that they want to know where their food originates. If food is arriving in Australia with misleading country of origin labels, via a third country, then governments need to take action on this so that consumers can be properly informed,” Mr Livingstone said.