Consumers have the right to know the country from which the food they are purchasing originated so that they can make informed purchasing decisions. There is already a requirement to identify where footwear and clothing comes from, and this bill extends this requirement to fresh fruit, meat, fish and vegetables, and other single component foods such as grains, nuts, bulk flour and oil.
People should be able to find out where their food comes from, so they can make informed choices about what they eat, and what the feed to their children. There are many reasons why consumers want to know which country their food comes from, and why consumers may wish to avoid consuming foods from certain countries. Some consumers want to support local producers and the local economy. Some are concerned about the adequacy of food safety standards in some countries we import food from. Some are concerned about the environmental and other costs of transporting food long distances. Some are concerned about the use of post-harvest fumigation and other treatments on imported produce or the potential residues of pesticides and other contaminants in imported foods.
Many consumers assume, in the absence of country of origin labelling, that traditional foods such as meat, fruit, fish, and vegetables are produced in New Zealand. As more and more food is imported into New Zealand, accurate and consistent country of origin labelling is even more important for consumers.