With the frozen berry scandal causing such a ruckus in Australia, it has resulted in stricter food label laws around the country. However, our neighbour New Zealand refuses to follow in our footsteps. They prefer to stick to their voluntary code in this matter.
Since the Hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries imported from China, the Abbot government has put a lot of their focus and energy into reworking the label laws. The Prime Minister believes that Abbott said it was the responsibility of businesses “not to poison their customers” after 18 people tested positive for Hepatitis A.
The New Zealand Opinion On Food Label
How does the voluntary method work in New Zealand? The companies and retailers can choose to adopt the food laws placed by the government. The Ministry for Primary Industries spokeswoman clarified that the imported berries from China and Chile did not make it New Zealand.
Countdown Supermarkets (a large chain in New Zealand) says that they have a voluntary Country of Origin labelling on all its own brand products as well as fresh and single-ingredient whole foods which included “detailing where any imported ingredients are sourced from because rather than simply state that a product contains local and/or imported ingredients.”
Finally, Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believe that by having stricter food safety laws, it will impact their export and trade. To prove this point, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research did a cost/benefit analysis in 2005, showing a mandatory scheme would cost $60 million because producers would have to change labels.
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