The hepatitis A berry outbreak has highlighted that consumers are in the dark about where their food comes from, the Green Party said today.
Four cases of hepatitis A have been traced back to frozen imported berries, but consumers cannot choose to buy local berries because no country of origin labelling is required, and the Ministry of Primary Industries refuses to say which brands are involved.
“People should be able to find out where their food comes from, so they can make informed choices about what they eat and feed to their children,” said Green Party food safety spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“The Ministry of Primary Industries can’t even tell consumers which countries the suspected berries come from or which brands they suspect.
“The Government should back consumers and local food producers and introduce mandatory country of origin labelling on all food so that people can make informed choices.
“Keeping New Zealanders in the dark about the risks in their food is not good enough, and the Government needs to front up.
“The hepatitis A risk will hurt New Zealand producers even though their berries are not implicated, simply because there is no country of origin labelling and so consumers don’t know where their berries are coming from,” said Mr Browning.
See more about the Green Party’s policy on country of origin labelling here.