CoOL approach needed for frozen imported berries

The risk to consumers posed by frozen imported berries contaminated with Hepatitis A shows the need for New Zealand to have Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL), Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries’ refusal to name the affected products or the country these berries were grown in is unhelpful to consumers, food producers and importers of safe products.

“When Australia took the urgent and proper step of recalling contaminated berries in February, the job of their food safety authorities was undoubtedly assisted by that country’s CoOL system.

“New Zealand consumers want and deserve to have clear origin labelling on their food products.

“The lack of information from MPI is resulting in people around New Zealand throwing away products that might be safe.

“As a berry grower I appreciate the high standards New Zealand food producers have to meet.

“New food safety legislation demands a precautionary approach at every part of the food production chain. We expect the Ministry to take the same approach and identify the source of the Hepatitis A contamination,” Damien O’Connor says.