New Zealand’s pork sector is disappointed at a further delay to the introduction of Country of Origin labelling regulations.
The Government has announced that the regulations covering fresh/chilled food including pork and cured pork have been delayed for three months until February 2022.
“We were eagerly awaiting these regulations to come into force in November,” says David Baines, chief executive of NZPork.
“Without these regulations, imported pork can be ‘hidden’ in ham and bacon processed in New Zealand under a label ‘Made in New Zealand’. Our research tells us that many consumers are surprised that the pork in these products may be imported from a number of countries.
“That’s why this three month delay is hugely frustrating for our New Zealand farmers when cheaper pork imports, that don’t have to meet New Zealand’s high welfare or environmental standards, can be presented to consumers without clear labelling.
“While we appreciate the delay is due to the disruption and uncertainty caused to business by the re-emergence of COVID-19, we are particularly disappointed that the regulations will not be in place for the Christmas period like we expected.
“Despite the regulatory delay, NZPork will still be encouraging consumers to look on the label and ask retailers for NZ born and raised pork, especially going into the Christmas ham season.”
The regulations will enable consumers to be more informed as to where their food is being imported from and what pork is New Zealand born and raised, says Mr Baines.
However, NZPork remains concerned the regulations are not comprehensive because they will not apply to all imported pork.
“The regulations will only cover fresh, chilled pork and cured pork. Pork processed in other ways will not have to be labelled. That means imported pork would be labelled with its country of origin if presented as ‘fresh’ (chilled), while the same product, if marinated or infused, would sit alongside New Zealand pork and escape the need for labelling as imported.” It’s not the first delay for the Country of Origin labelling regulations. The Government announced an initial delay in May 2020 as part of its measures to manage business disruption due to COVID-19.