New Zealand Labour Party

Berry recall too late for Hepatitis A case no. 5

The belated recall of imported frozen berries suspected of being contaminated with Hepatitis A came too late for the fifth New Zealander to be infected with the virus, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries initially warned people to boil all berries. After days of pressure, it finally issued a recall.

“The Ministry’s precautionary approach is aimed at protecting the incomes of importers, not the health of New Zealanders.

“That’s not good enough from the government agency charged with ensuring our food is safe.

“It also shows not only the need for New Zealand to have Country of Origin Labelling but the advantage of reverting to a stand-alone food safety agency. Labour has been calling for both these measures for years and will continue to so.

“Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy must issue a directive to his ministry to put the health of Kiwi consumers – not the bottom line of importers – at the heart of all its decisions,” Damien O’Connor says.