Food labeling debate heats up, as big NZ companies voice their opposition
A fight nearly broke out in Parliament today over mandarins.
On one side was Labour Party MP Damien O’Connor, saying that shoppers were being lied to about where their fruit came from.
On the other was powerful Food and Grocery Council head Katherine Rich, who is strongly against making it compulsory for companies to say where their food is from.
Their war of words began when a select committee was shown pictures of mandarins, capsicums, and pears on New Zealand supermarket shelves which were marketed as being from New Zealand but were actually from Chile, the United States, Italy and the Netherlands.
“How can we trust a voluntary [labelling] scheme when your members are lying?” O’Connor asked Rich.
“I think that’s very harsh and very unfair,” she shot back.
“We have got photos – that’s lying to the public,” O’Connor said.
Rich said it was probably a mistake, and that her members were not responsible for supermarket signage.
“Are we seriously thinking that the poor supermarket worker who stacked that shelf set out to mislead the consumer?”
Okay, so mis labeling of a few mandarins, OR a few pears, sure that could easily happen. But mandarins, pears AND capsicums is moving toward the ‘hard to swallow’ basket. Human error? Or deliberately misleading us (from higher up the food chain)? As always question everything & all the more reason here to buy organic. Hard to wash the pesticides off & I’ve been told the glyphosate gets sprayed INTO the ground around the orange trees here in good ole Enzed. That’s from a grower who exports. Pesticide regulation in other countries is pretty loose (read ‘Circle of Poison’) given ‘civilized’ western nations have found a handy dumping ground there for their poisons banned at home – so yes nothing’s as it seems and not a lot is 100% safe these days. We have to ask ourselves, why on earth is Katherine Rich against labeling country of origin? Simple request surely?