Us law mandating country of origin dating questions of ethics

If a product claims to be “Product of New Zealand”, the essential character of the food must be created in New Zealand.

“Made in New Zealand from local and/or imported ingredients” gives no guarantees about the product’s origin.

Broccoli from China, berries from Chile, brussels sprouts from the Netherlands.

Last year, New Zealand imported more than million worth of frozen fruit and vegetables but our survey found it’s not always easy to tell where these products come from.

Foodstuffs said it used the statement on multi-ingredient products that contain New Zealand and imported produce.

Under the Fair Trading Act, any claims about a product’s origin must not be misleading or deceptive.

A spokesperson for Mc Cain told us it sources the majority of vegetables from New Zealand, and smaller quantities from South Africa, China, Europe and North America.

Mike Pretty, managing director for Heinz Wattie’s, told us more than 80 percent of vegetables used in its frozen vegetable products were grown in New Zealand.Study co-author Dr Judith Holdershaw, senior lecturer in marketing at Massey University, told us there was a clear country of origin effect when the origin was available to respondents.“Eighty-seven percent of respondents in our study wanted mandatory labelling for all fresh fruit, meat and vegetables.This is established by food safety measures such as pre-clearance arrangements with countries from which we import and monitoring compliance with food safety laws.In addition, imported high-risk foods (such as some cheeses and seafood) are checked at the border. The venomous spiders recently found in imported Mexican grapes is a case in point.

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