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NZ exporters 'will shine' in new UK food labelling plan

by 5m Editor
1 February 2007, at 12:27pm

NEW ZEALAND - A UK supermarket's proposal to label products so customers can compare carbon footprints can't come soon enough, says Federated Farmers national president Charlie Pedersen.

Tesco, which already has a "food miles" label to show the carbon dioxide burned to transport the produce to the UK, plans to introduce carbon footprint labelling within three years.

Currently 99.75 per cent of exported New Zealand food is exported by ship, so 0.25 per cent suffers under the `food miles' labelling because it is air-freighted.

Mr Pedersen said that while the food miles system was unfair on that minority, New Zealand exporters using shipping would shine under Tesco's new system.

The new labelling will take production, processing and packaging into account, along with fuel burned transporting the product. The present food miles take into account only the transportation, not the production of an item.

"We are pretty sure that New Zealand agriculture is the world's best as far as efficiency and the environment are concerned," Mr Pedersen said.

"Our farming systems will stack up extremely well."

Stu Wadey, senior vice-president of Waikato Federated Farmers, said New Zealand needed to ensure the information on Tesco's labelling was correct.

Trade Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand had little to fear from the proposal if Tesco handled the labelling properly.

"For dairying, the global emissions are half (that of the UK), for lamb it's a quarter and apples and onions are significantly less," Mr Goff said.

Source: Waikato Times

5m Editor