The Trans-Tasman review into labelling irradiated food has meet a mixed response

While most industry groups and corporations that produced submissions to Food Standards Australia New Zealand were supportive of removing the labeling, all but one of the private citizen submissions were against the idea.

The body will not propose a removal of the current labelling requirements at this stage, but asked respondents whether they thought the countries’ approach to signalling irradiated food was effective or necessary at present.

Irradiation, which is used as both a pest control method and way of extending food’s shelf life, is a rare practice in the two countries, used mainly as a final quarantine measure to prevent the spread of fruit flies.

Five FSANZ studies over the last 15 years and numerous World Health Organisation reports have found the irradiation process is safe, but food manufacturers are required to add a label informing consumers food has been processed in this way.

The wording of the labelling is not proscribed, though manufacturers can add an optional Radura symbol, the internationally recognised identifier of irradiated food.

Consumer NZ, Friends of the Earth and New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries made submissions against removing the label requirements, arguing consumers were in favour of greater levels of information about the origin and processing of their food. They were joined by Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis (pictured above), who in a submission as a private citizen said “any process that alters the ingredients of a product should be labelled“.

“It is not the responsibility of government or government endorsed bodies to decide on behalf of the individual what they should or should not know is in their food,” he said.

Source – Sydney Morning Herald: