Dear Ms Kaye,
I am writing to you on behalf of Unmask Palm Oil regarding your position on clearer labelling of vegetable oils and to urge you to support recommendation 12 of the Labelling Logic report.
The Unmask Palm Oil campaign exists to support the introduction of clearer labelling of vegetable oils with a particular focus on palm oil.
As you may know, under current labelling laws in Australia and New Zealand, companies can label oils generically as vegetable oil without reference to the specific oils. This makes it impossible for consumers wishing to avoid certain oils, particularly palm oil.
An extension to our labelling laws would give consumers the right to choose and create a level playing field for companies.
The legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation
In 2009 the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation of which you are a part of (then under the name of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council) commissioned an independent review of food labelling policy in Australasia. The review was chaired by former Australian Health Minister, Dr Neal Blewett and involved extensive public consultation with the panel receiving over 6,000 submissions.
Their final report, published in 2011 and titled ‘Labelling Logic’ had 61 recommendations with one of them being the clearer labelling of vegetable oils:
Recommendation 12 - Where sugars, fats or vegetable oils are added as separate ingredients in a food, the terms ‘added sugars’ and ‘added fats’ and/or ‘added vegetable oils’ be used in the ingredient list as the generic term, followed by a bracketed list (e.g., added sugars (fructose, glucose syrup, honey), added fats (palm oil, milk fat) or added vegetable oils (sunflower oil, palm oil);
The recommendations of the report will be decided upon by Ministers of the Legislative and Governance Forum including yourself in either December 2014 or May/June 2015. We ask for you to commit New Zealand support for this recommendation at the Forum.
The Unmask Palm Oil campaign supports this recommendation because:
Unmask Palm Oil have today presented their petition to parliament calling for clearer labelling of palm oil. The petition received 7400 signatures and was received by Jacinda Ardern, Damien O’Connor, Mojo Mathers, Te Ururoa Flavell and Barbara Stewart.
Ben Dowdle, Unmask Palm Oil Campaign Coordinator says: “A small change to our confusing labelling laws would allow consumers to know which products are using palm oil. There is a widespread feeling that consumers deserve better information to allow them to make better choices, palm oil labelling is part of that.”
“We hope that the Minister of Food Safety, Nikki Kaye, will take note. To have such strong support from the parties and 7400 signatures behind us from around the country shows that labelling is inevitable.”
The proposal for mandatory labelling of all vegetable oils will soon be in front of the Minister as part of a comprehensive review of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The change requires the support of food safety Ministers from New Zealand and the states of Australia.
Photo credit: Ella SorylView post...
12.00 pm August 28 2013
Press advisory from Unmask Palm Oil
Unmask Palm Oil will tomorrow be presenting its petition calling on the Government to introduce clearer labelling of the ingredient palm oil.
The petition will be presented to MP’s from Labour, Greens and NZ First. The petition has approximately 7000 signatures and is a policy supported by Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party with Labour making an announcement shortly.
Unmask Palm Oil hopes that the petition will encourage the Minister of Food Safety, Nikki Kaye to reconsider her stance on labelling.
Where: Parliament steps (inside if raining)
When: Thursday 29th August at 12.30 pm
Contact: Ben Dowdle, Campaign Coordinator email@example.comView post...
7.00 am August 25th 2013
Press release from Unmask Palm Oil
The Maori Party have announced their support for clearer labelling of palm oil joining a growing list of political parties. Maori Party Co-leader, Tariana Turia has also written to the Minister of Food Safety, Nikki Kaye urging her to reconsider her position on mandatory labelling of palm oil.
Campaign Coordinator, Ben Dowdle says, “New Zealand has weak labelling standards that have allowed companies to hide palm oil in their products under generic and scientific names. This is confusing for consumers that are trying to avoid the environmentally destructive ingredient.”
“A simple change to our labelling laws would mean companies would have to specify which oils they are using in their products. We welcome the support of the Maori Party and hope this will put pressure on Nikki Kaye to reconsider her stance.”
In her letter to Nikki Kaye, Tariana Turia writes “We are particularly concerned about the impact of deforestation on indigenous communities who have become displaced from their homelands, and of course the environmental effects of this activity… We believe that consumers should have the opportunity to make ethical decisions when purchasing everyday products.”
The Maori Party join New Zealand First and the Greens in their support for clearer labelling of palm oil. Labour are yet to make a formal announcement.
Unmask Palm Oil will present its’ petition to parliament this Thursday 29th August at 12.30 pm
Below is a letter written by Tariana Turia to the Minister of Food Safety Nikki Kaye
Tena koe Minister
The Maori Party has recently met with a representative of the campaign ‘Unmask Palm Oil.’ They have sought our support to highlight the issues relating to the harvesting of palm oil, and also to ensure that consumers in New Zealand have greater opportunity to identify palm oil as an ingredient in products as a means of making informed and ethical choices.
The Maori Party have concerns about the impact of the deforestation of rain forest in the production of this commonly used ingredient. We are particularly concerned about the impact of deforestation on indigenous communities who have become displaced from theirhomelands, and of course the environmental effects of this activity.
We believe that consumers should have the opportunity to make ethical decisions when purchasing everyday products. We are also aware that as Minister for Food Safety you have responsibilities for leading the New Zealand response to food labelling issues, and that currently there is a report named ‘Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (2011)’ that is currently under your consideration. We are writing to you to express our support for Recommendation 12 of that report:
“That where sugars, fats or vegetable oils are added as separate ingredients in a food, the terms ‘added sugars’ and ‘added fats’ and/or ‘added vegetable oils’ beused in the ingredient list as the generic term, followed by a bracketed list. ...[of]added sugars, added fats, or added vegetable oils.”
The Maori Party is aware that Unmask Palm Oil have contacted you directly, however we wish to support their call for food labelling that allows consumers to make ethical decisions.
Finally Minister, the Maori Party welcomes your leadership in advancing a standard to give legal effect to a new food regulation for making claims about the health properties of food on labels as announced in April this year.
We hope that the new labelling regime will help New Zealanders to maintain a healthier diet with better information about nutrition content. We would be interested in learning of your opinion of the star-rating system as established in Australia (e.g. in which sodium, saturated fat, sugar and energy content are rated).
We look forward to your response.
Hon Tariana Turia,
Co-leader of the Maori PartyView post...