'Country of origin' labels a step closer to law

Horticulture New Zealand is thrilled that a mandatory 'country of origin' label for fruit and vegetables is a step closer.

The Consumers' Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament, and is expected to pass into law later this year.

"Our research showed that more than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fruit and vegetables, so it is great to see the Government continuing to listen to consumers by progressing this Bill," said Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.

He said the Bill has been a long time in the making, after undergoing significant changes by the Primary Production Select Committee between its first reading and now.

"Ultimately, the outcome is what our growers want," he said. 

"That is, consumers can choose what to buy with full knowledge of where their fresh fruit and vegetables come from." 

Mr Chapman said they may want to support local businesses, buy what is in season and grown locally, help keep and create jobs in their own area, or buy products from other countries known for being the best at growing particular produce.