Tomatoes New Zealand has urged consumers to ask retailers if tomatoes have been irradiated following concerns imported Australian tomatoes that have undergone irradiation treatment are being sold without proper labelling.
While irradiation causes no harm and is certified by FSANZ as a safe and effective method of treating imported Australian tomatoes, Tomatoes New Zealand has issued a statement asking food and hospitality retailers to label irradiated tomatoes at point of sale and on menus to clarify to consumers where their produce is coming from.
“We acknowledge irradiation is a vital tool to protect New Zealand’s vulnerable horticulture industry from fruit fly and we support its use on at-risk produce,” said chair of Tomatoes New Zealand Alasdair MacLeod in a press release. “However, we do want consumers to have information at point-of-sale so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to eat irradiated tomatoes.”
New Zealand doesn’t have compulsory country of origin labeling, but Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) requires irradiated food to be labeled, or have the mandatory labelling statement displayed close to the food in certain circumstances, such as when loose fruit and vegetables is sold at supermarkets.