The worsening outbreak of African swine fever throughout Asia and Europe has created a rare opportunity for New Zealand meat producers.
The Government’s draft regulations for cured pork could see imported pig meat that is marinated or injected in New Zealand labelled without recognition that the meat is produced overseas.
The provisions, which have been made as part of the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin Labelling) Bill, only require the pork to include the name and address of a New Zealand supplier.
David Baines, general manager of NZ Pork, says the intent of the Country of Origin of Food Act is to provide consumers with accurate information about the origin of certain foods so they can make informed purchase decisions.
“New Zealand consumers should rightly expect accurate information about the origin of cured or further processed pork. These marinated and infused products in effect ‘hide’ the use of imported pork from consumers and mislead Kiwis by their presentation within the fresh meat cabinet.
“For example, under these proposals, pork from Spain or the United States would be labelled with its country of origin if presented as ‘fresh’ (chilled) while the same product, if marinated or infused, would sit alongside NZ Pork and escape the need for labelling as imported.
“We believe these products should be included in the category of cured pork to ensure consumers are not confused.”
NZ Pork is calling on the Government to widen the definition of cured pork so it includes preserving and/or flavouring. It says defining cured pork in this way would mean the regulations would cover imported pork that is processed in some form.