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Australian irradiated tomatoes must be labelled

Irradiated Australian tomatoes are on the shelves of fresh produce stores now, and TomatoesNZ is reminding retailers and the hospitality sector to ensure that produce is clearly labelled as “irradiated”.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) requires anyone selling irradiated produce to clearly label it at point of sale. The regulation applies to any irradiated tomatoes and products containing them, both raw and cooked.

Tomatoes NZ is aware of some instances over the past few days where the labelling has not occurred as it should, and has reported these to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Tomatoes New Zealand Chair Barry O’Neil says consumers want to know what they’re eating and the labels allow consumers to make an informed choice.

A consumer survey in 2015 found that many New Zealanders support the labelling of irradiated produce, with 85% of survey participants asking for irradiated fruit and vegetables, and food made with irradiated produce, to be clearly identified.

“If you are unsure of the source of your produce, you should ask the supplier,” said Mr O’Neil.

Irradiation kills bacteria and other pests, including insects, and is required of all tomatoes imported from Australia, to meet New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements. Mr O’Neil says New Zealand-grown tomatoes are never irradiated and Tomatoes NZ supports measures taken to protect New Zealand’s vulnerable horticulture industry from pests like the Queensland fruit fly.

Source: Horticulture NZ

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