There’s a really great video on Country-Of-Origin labeling … as they conduct the debate in New Zealand. Green Member of Parliament Sue Kedgley is trying to get a COOL bill passed for perishables, while the counterpoint is by Brenda Cutress of The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council. Here is how a TV moderator by the name of John Campbell introduces the piece:
“You’ll always be a kiwi, if you love our Wattie’s sauce.”
That’s what the ad said, and Wattie’s tomato sauce is one of those products we see as “ours”.
Like L & P and the buzzy bee — part of our cultural identity.
But the sauce in this bottle is made in Australia.
Yes, New Zealand’s favourite sauce is an Aussie import, so too is this Charlie’s orange juice.
New Zealand grows delicious peaches, apricots and apples, but … Watties have sourced the fruit in these cans from China.
This peanut butter, the fruit squirtz, and the go fruity, China, once again.
And more exotic still, this Wattie’s asparagus… all the way from Peru.
We saw Chinese apricots before, these apricots are from South Africa.
And we’re not sure where this bacon and ham is from; it might be from New Zealand, but almost half our pig meat is imported.
We asked Watties, for one, why they’re importing fruit like apples.
They reminded us the vast majority of the fruit and veggies they use are still from New Zealand.
They also said seasonality is an issue.
Fair enough too, but for canned apples?
New Zealand exports 300,000 tons of apples a year. Aren’t there enough to can local ones during season rather than importing them from China?
Watties wouldn’t be interviewed for this programme.
At least Watties tells you where they’re importing from, good for them.
Many food importers don’t.
This Gregg’s garlic powder is typical, packed in New Zealand, from imported ingredients, it says.
It does say imported, but from where?
Should we be told?
Green MP Sue Kedgley says “yes”, and is trying to get a mandatory country-of-origin labeling bill through Parliament.
The New Zealand food and grocery council says, “No”, and Brenda Cutress is beside Sue Kedgley in our Wellington studio.
A bit of an odd choice of guests as the MP wants COOL for perishables and the other lady represents food processors, so they have no problem agreeing to COOL for produce and meat.
A bit shocking, though, in light of the food safety issues from China, that Ms. Cutress from the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council can be so sanguine about food safety, relying on a bunch of “certificates” from countries around the world.
Watch the video here.