The Green Party's call for mandatory Country of Origin Labelling of fruit, vegetables, meat fish and single component foods, will future-proof New Zealand's food supply and be of national strategic benefit in the medium term.
GE Free NZ (in food and environment) backs the proposals along with the majority of New Zealanders who see the issue as a matter of having a basic right to know where food comes from, and for people to be able to make their own choices.
Sectors of the food industry opposing the move are being self-serving and thinking short-term, but ironically these opponents may benefit from new legislation making labelling mandatory.
One of the major global food trends of today is 'traceabilty', and being able to label where a food is sourced is set to become a 'hygeine' factor - that is : a basic requirement - in global food marketing.
Though a worldwide 'traceability' system is still years away, the use of technology to track products "from the farm to the fork" is already entering the premium-food sector which New Zealand producers compete in.
New Zealand consumers, like our producers, should also benefit from such traceabilty, and we should be leading the market to maintain our gold-standard positioning. New Zealand risks being left behind because of some manufacturers opposing such traceabilty .
In the short-term the issue of labelling cannot be left to individual businesses as it leaves consumers open to deliberate deception.
"Many consumers are currently being deceived by companies refusing to label products, and which instead play on consumers' misplaced trust in brands," says Mr Carapiet.
"It is no good saying people are wrong to assume a food product is from New Zealand when they are simultaneously being denied information about where the product really comes from."
"Traceabilty is a global food trend businesses cannot afford to fight, and it is unreasonable to also deny consumers the right to know."
Jon Carapiet 021 0507681