Horticulture NZ launches new CoOL campaign

Horticulture New Zealand and others have launched a new campaign for CoOL, or Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling of food.  It notes that the campaign is pretty simple really – it’s about consumers’ right to know that they are buying:

We believe Kiwi shoppers deserve the right to choose.

CoOL is not a ‘buy local’ campaign. It is not a food safety campaign. It’s about choices.

Mandatory country of origin labelling (MCoOL) is the only way to ensure the consumer gets to make the right choice for them, whether their purchase decision is based on product origin, the price, safety concerns, what the kids like, nutrition needs or just plain old flavour preference!

It also has an interesting discussion on Made in New Zealand Baked Beans

‘Made in New Zealand’ does not automatically mean the food contents of the can or pack where actually grown in New Zealand.

For example, a can of Baked Beans with “Made in New Zealand” on it could have been made from imported tomatoes and imported beans. We don’t grow those beans in New Zealand! Once the tomatoes and beans are made into “baked beans” here in New Zealand, the manufacturer is legally entitled to put Made in New Zealand on the can. Even though neither of the food products in the can were grown here.

Surely if that’s the case it should say ‘Cooked in New Zealand’, ‘Stirred in New Zealand or or even ‘Tin made in New Zealand’?

Meanwhile Sue Kedgley was out and about in Wellington yesterday quizzing the public if they knew where their food came from.  Not one person out of 100 people was able to correctly guess where the eight foods in her quiz came from.  Anarkaytie at g.blog has more here.

Sue Kedgley at CoOL Quiz

Photo credit: Anarkaytie at g.blog

10 thoughts on “Horticulture NZ launches new CoOL campaign

  1. I was saddened a few months ago when, after searching a few supermarkets including organics, I could find no cans of tomatoes grown in New Zealand. They’re all Italian! The obfuscation about processing is interesting. Brands such as Watties will label all but their whole unspiced tomatoes as ‘Made in New Zealand’.

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  2. - “Not one person out of 100 people was able to correctly guess where the eight foods in her quiz came from.”

    Maybe that’s because, quite rightly, they don’t give a damn where it comes from. They are not small-minded nationalists like the Greens and Winston Peters.

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  3. Actually wat dabney, as someone who passed by the stall, I am happy to report people were very interested in the test, and surprised by the results.

    The origin of food is an issue that some people find very important. I know a lot of parents that would like the benefit of choice when at the supermarket (especially for fresh foods – why buy Australian capsicums if I can find New Zealand-grown ones?) I find the thought of fresh food in the ground one day, on a transport a week later, then flying through the air to my shopping trolley, all a bit unnerving. I would much prefer (and am even prepared to pay a bit more for!) food that is grown in NZ, preferably grown in my region.

    Sure, I am not eating apples in December, but I don’t mind.

    I am glad the Greens are onto the case.

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  4. >>I find the thought of fresh food in the ground one day, on a transport a week later, then flying through the air to my shopping trolley, all a bit unnerving

    Yet you could not tell the difference in a taste test. And for some people – the poor – the price matters a great deal.

    Buy what you like. Think carefully about reducing the choice for those less privileged.

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  5. BP,

    I don’t think country of origin labeling is about reducing choice, its simply about requiring the country of origin to be printed on the label. No one (I am aware of) is advocating banning produce from particular countries, its just giving the shopper more information about what they are buying.

    Personally, I don’t care too much about country of origin when buying food, I look more at other things such as the ingredients. If I want to eat local food, I simply make it from fresh ingredients (which are more likely to be local … though not necessarily). Nevertheless, I think a truthful label of where the product is produced is a good idea.

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  6. I’m not against labeling, and I note we already have a lot of it.

    I’m against compulsory labeling. It increases the cost. I’m for food safety, but I don’t like the way the Greens are conflating the two issues for political ends.

    If there is demand for knowing where food comes from, then people will demand that information, and vendors will supply it. Clearly, there is not sufficient demand. The reality is that most people don’t care where it comes from.

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  7. We have a (large) organisation called The New Zealand Food Safety Authority, that costs us a fortune to maintain. Its bureaucratic function is to ensure that all food sold in and by New Zealand meets agreed standards.

    For this reason the country of origin is meaningless to me, and most people. After all, there was a time, not long ago, when a country of origin on a label was upheld in a court as being appropriate – it said Made in New ZEaland, and the label WAS made in New ZEaland, the garment wasn’t but that wasn’t claimed according to the legal beagles!

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  8. Strings Says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    > We have a (large) organisation called The New Zealand Food Safety Authority, that costs us a fortune to maintain. Its bureaucratic function is to ensure that all food sold in and by New Zealand meets agreed standards.

    true, and they check up on the safety of food production in New Zealand. But they don’t actually go to Albania or the People’s Republic of China to check up on the production conditions of food made there and sold in New Zealand. And they don’t do comprehensive testing of food imported from those countries – they mostly act on complaints. So if you buy food imported from a foreign country, you are actually relying largely on the enforcement of safety regulations in the country of origin.

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  9. It’s not entirely about the buyer though – producers want the buyer to know where the food was grown too.

    Not sure where you get “most people don’t care” from – did someone do a survey? I care.

    I put COOL petitions in our local fruit shop and was amazed at how fast the pages filled up – this is a very small town and it looked like almost the entire place would prefer to know where food comes from. What after all is so wrong about knowing?

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  10. My latest almost oops into my shopping basket said in bold type ‘Proudly New Zealand owned’ then in very small type made in China.

    My yell of ‘cheeky bugga’s’ got everyone talking about knowing where your food comes from.
    They all wanted to know & thought it important.
    I was surprised by the vehemence of the young Mothers.

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