Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says she is pleased the Commerce Commission has upheld her complaint that Kiwi and Premier Bacon products were misleading consumers by implying that their bacon was from New Zealand, when it was not.
"I hope the Commerce Commission decision to uphold my complaint and require the companies to re-label their products will serve as a warning to others to take labelling seriously, and not make deceptive claims.
"Stating that something is the 'Taste of New Zealand' when it is made with imported pork is clearly misleading. Similarly, stating that something is 'country goodness from the heart of the Wairarapa' when it is made with imported pork is equally misleading," Ms Kedgley says.
"Consumers rely on information on labels to make informed decisions, and it's important that labels are accurate and truthful.
"Many consumers want to buy products that are made with New Zealand ingredients and would have bought these products because they believed they were made with local rather than imported pork.
While she was pleased her complaint had been upheld, was concerned that the solution proposed in the case of Premier Bacon Company could still leave consumers confused.
"The proposal is that it will re-label its products 'Made in the Wairarapa from local and imported ingredients'. However, since Premier has admitted that virtually all of the pork it uses is imported, I believe Premier should declare clearly on labels if the product contains imported pork, or New Zealand pork, and not leave it up to consumers to guess," Ms Kedgley says.
The breaches showed why it was crucial that New Zealand had mandatory country of origin labelling, so that producers had an obligation to clearly state where fresh and single component food originated from.
"My country of origin labelling petition calls for mandatory labelling of all fresh produce and single component items like bacon. If we had mandatory labelling of food, as most countries already have, these breaches would not have occurred.
"These cases also demonstrate why it's vital that labelling is underpinned by regulation. Otherwise consumers cannot have confidence that labels and claims are accurate."