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Ministry must protect organic food industry

The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue for more than a year, the Ministry today said it wasn’t a priority and wouldn’t hold further discussions on a regime until 2017.

“New Zealand is lagging behind the rest of the world on this. Kiwi consumers have a right to know whether the products they eat and drink truly are organic, and what country they have been produced in.

“Labour supports country of origin labelling as a key component of consumer information.

“Our multimillion dollar manuka honey industry is also under threat because the Government has been unable to ensure proper certification of this unique and valuable product.

“These issues have both arisen because of a lack of food safety expertise within National’s super Ministry.

“MPI should reconsider its decision and move now to protect Kiwi consumers and our struggling export sector,” Damien O’Connor says.