Christmas Has Come Early For NZ Farmers

Local farmers and primary producers have received an early Christmas present from the Government, with the passing of the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Act. The bill will mean that the country or place of origin of certain food must be disclosed by referring to where it was grown, caught, or raised, rather than simply where it was packaged or processed. The Act also has a special provision to include cured pork.

On the recommendation of the Primary Production Select Committee, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will establish the new country of origin of food regulations under the Fair Trading Act.

NZ Pork believes the new legislation will provide a welcome boost for local farmers by making it much easier for Kiwi consumers to choose to buy local produce. NZ Pork chairman Eric Roy said New Zealand’s commercial pork industry, which has been inundated by a flood of imported pork, so understandably NZ Pork has been particularly heartened by the news.

“It’s a great pre-Christmas present for hardworking local farmers. Although Kiwis tell us they prefer to buy born and raised in New Zealand pork, bacon and ham, it is often very difficult to tell from current labelling where a product comes from. Lack of information on country of origin of pork, bacon and ham has been a significant contributor to the growth of sales of imported pork – many people are surprised to learn how much imported product is consumed in this country.”

While around 60 percent of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported, for cured pork products like bacon and ham, the proportion of imports is up to 85 percent. Almost all imported pork comes from countries whose production systems would be illegal in New Zealand.

“This legislation will help to level the playing field for local producers and give consumers a fair opportunity to choose where the food they buy for their families comes from. It may also help manage some of the biosecurity risks the industry has identified, associated with imported pork.”

NZ Pork has also praised the work of all parties who supported the legislation, as well as the efforts of the Primary Production Select Committee. “At every stage, MPs and Committee members listened to industry and worked hard to balance New Zealand’s trade commitments, the needs of the primary production sector and the demands of consumers to know more about where their food comes from. In particular, we’d like to recognise the efforts of Greens MP Gareth Hughes in managing the Bill through the House and recognising and addressing the concerns of New Zealand’s commercial pig farming industry when cured pork products, such as bacon and ham, were excluded from consideration for the legislation.”