A major consumer survey, commissioned by Tomatoes New Zealand, has found that most Kiwi consumers want irradiated produce sold in shops and food outlets to be clearly labelled.
The study of 1000 people found that 85% of participants want irradiated fruit and vegetables, as well as food made with irradiated produce, to be clearly identified.
“With seasonal stocks of irradiated tomatoes now arriving in New Zealand, it’s timely to remind retailers, restaurants and catering operations that by law consumers must be made aware of irradiated produce so that they can make an informed choice about whether to purchase it,” says Tomatoes NZ chair Alasdair MacLeod.  Some foods, including all imported Australian tomatoes, are irradiated to preserve the food and kill bacteria and pests. This involves exposing it to ionising radiation and x-rays or gamma rays which pass through it like microwaves in a microwave oven.
“The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) requires anyone selling irradiated produce to provide clear labelling for customers at point of sale. This research shows there is overwhelming support for this from New Zealand consumers.
“Each piece of irradiated produce is not individually labelled but retailers must provide signage at point of sale. Consumers can look out for signage and, if in doubt, ask the retailer,” says MacLeod.
The survey carried out by Curia Market Research, found that 85% of respondents want stores to label irradiated fruit and vegetables and 78% want to know if food they order at a restaurant, café or takeaway includes irradiated produce.