New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of safe, high quality food took another hit today with the revelation that Chinese grown frozen vegetables are being sold under a “made in New Zealand” label.
An expose by the Australian Broadcasting Company uncovered the allegedly “deceptive practice”
The peak industry body for vegetable growers says “confusing” labels can hide the fact that frozen foods from New Zealand may actually be grown in China, under conditions that would not be acceptable in Australia.
AUSVEG spokesman Hugh Gurney says produce can leave China as a frozen product, then be packaged or modified in New Zealand, and then sent on to Australia under the labelling ‘Made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients’.
“Often this produce from China is actually grown in conditions which would not be permitted here [in Australia], so we feel this is quite a deceptive practice,” he told AM. (ed. deceptive practices taking place in New Zealand, surely not!)
“This would be mainly frozen products like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots. The product would come in a large frozen block that would then be broken down into smaller sections, bagged up into plastic bags, frozen again, and then sent here to Australia.
“It is very confusing for consumers, who feel that they’re getting product from New Zealand which actually may have originated in the fields of China.” … more here
The report doesn’t make it clear what the difference in the growing conditions between New Zealand is, nor whether there are food safety risks involved. Presumably someone somewhere is testing this food for, for example, pesticide residues, agrichemicals etc. and that it passes all of New Zealand’s strict bio-security controls.
Speaking of biosecurity controls, New Zealand has a mixed track record in that department (Varroa and Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) incursions, for example) so let’s take nothing for granted here.
The question should be asked : are New Zealanders also consuming overseas produce believing it has been grown in 100% pure New Zealand and what do they think of this revelation?
You may also be interested in
Made in New Zealand, not – the world cup effect, companies fined for Chinese made products being passed off as Kiwi. (August 2010)
Concerns over “Made in New Zealand products” – Greens MP says there’s actually no requirement that all ingredients come from New Zealand and that’s misleading consumers. (Aug 2010)