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FT FEB2016-HR 3 WELCOME BACK Only a handful of weeks into my new role as chief executive here at Horticulture New Zealand, I am finding myself having to come to grips with the approach this country’s regulators take to labelling food products. This letter explains the dilemma I find myself in and is my personal view. On one side of my desk I find a pile of notes about the ‘discussion’ Food Standards Australia New Zealand wishes to have with industry about the removal of irradiation labelling from food products. This is all tied up with the FSANZ Code, and the enthusiasm Australian producers have for their products not to be identified as irradiated. FSANZ seems keen to consider taking the requirement for the labelling away. In New Zealand, it is required by law, and New Zealand growers want to see it stay that way. But a change to the FSANZ code would see us have to give that up. New Zealand’s FSANZ regulators do not seem concerned about the impact the removal of this labelling would have on consumer trust and New Zealand producers. Tomatoes New Zealand commissioned a consumer survey last year which showed more than 85% of respondents want to be told if a food product has been irradiated, both at point-of-sale or on a menu. This is excellent evidence for challenging the Australian stance. Meanwhile, on the other side of my desk is a copy of HortNZ’s just completed submission to the Australian Government about its proposed new country of origin labelling. We think the labelling proposed in this instance by the Australian Government is outstanding and will give Australian consumers what they want – the ability to make a better choice about the food products they buy. Once again we find ourselves at odds with our own government regulators, as MPI and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade have both submitted against the proposed labelling. The sensible answer is to ensure that consumers are fully informed about where their products come from and whether they have been irradiated. So my plea to our regulators is to consistently require country of origin labelling and irradiation labelling. After all it is a consumers’ right to know where the product they are purchasing has come from, and how it came. Mike Chapman, Chief executive, Horticulture New Zealand E D I TOR ’ S N O T E Kathryn Calvert Editor NZ FOODTechnology LETTER TO THE EDITOR HAVE YOUR SAY LABELLING – WHY DON’T REGULATORS LISTEN? Welcome to the February issue of NZ FOODtechnology magazine. We hope that 2016 is proving both prosperous and enjoyable, and that this issue will provide information for you and those around you involved in food technology in New Zealand and beyond. Firstly, I need to introduce myself as the new editor. My name is Kathryn Calvert, and I am a journalist with more than three decades of experience in New Zealand media. More recently, I spent nearly eight years helping to link the University of Auckland Business School and its academics with media. I’ve worked on regional newspapers, national magazines, in tourism and regional development, health communication and politics – to cut a long list short – and I am thrilled to be focusing on a subject I feel very passionate about. You’ll find some new additions to the magazine, including a ‘Lion’s Den’ introductory platform for young food technologists with an idea in their brain that could resonate with you in the marketplace. Celebrity chef Allyson Gofton kickstarts a ‘What and how we’ll be eating in 50 years’ time’ feature…don’t miss her predictions for convenience food in 2066! Our book review page will see a lucky subscriber winning all the featured ‘foodie’ books, and a new event page will showcase all the important occasions for the industry in the next 12 months. Our front page story this month on branding food to children is dear to the heart of any parent of children young or older. It’s worrying to discover what food branding and advertising is pushed into our kids’ brains these days and, more importantly, the volume of it. Experts say our ‘obesogenic’ food environment is unhealthy for our young ones, and the food industry must make this issue a top priority to stop our children dying before we do. Take a look and see if you agree. Next month‘s magazine will focus on Maori food technology, and I welcome anyone with a story to tell to contact me. If you are, or know of, a young food techie who’d be ideal for the ‘Lion’s Den’ pages, send me all their relevant details. If you’re hot under the collar about an issue, email me. And if you have had staff changes this year, let me know and I will include it in a new ‘Movers, Shakers and Winners’ feature starting this month. Or maybe have your say in the ‘Have your Say’ column below. This is YOUR magazine, and we are dedicated to getting your voice heard in our close-knit industry, so grab the opportunity to air what you think is critical for the food technology community to hear. 1 Mike Chapman, Chief executive, Horticulture New Zealand Kathryn

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