Claim companies use NZ as backdoor to get potentially toxic frozen Chinese vegetables into Australia bypassing normal checks

Claim companies use NZ as backdoor to get potentially toxic frozen Chinese vegetables into Australia bypassing normal checks

New Zealand is being used as a back door to get Chinese produce on to the Australia market.

While a great deal is being said about how seriously China takes the safety of imported foodstuffs (vis a vis Fonterra’s woes) it pays scant attention to what it ships around the world.

The issue of Chinese vegetables getting around Australian regulations by coming through New Zealand has been around for a year or so but it seems nothing is being done to police or change it.

It works like this: Vegetables from China are sent to New Zealand where they are mixed with big name brands and sent on to Australia where they are sold to the unsuspecting consumer.

This is made possible by a loophole in our trade agreements with Australia and also that country’s unwillingness to adopt country of origin labeling. While it is not mandatory here either most companies at least pay homage to it.

The move by Australian manufacturers to bring their factories here mean mosts times they are no longer sourcing from Australian farmers.

Critics are quick to point out that there is a lot of food coming over the ditch from here which is more than is actually being produced here.

They say the product is out of China being processed in New Zealand. Two thirds of the frozen vegetables in Australia were now being sourced from foreign investors.

Australian consumer advocate AUSBUY told interest.co.nz the practice was rife and there was nothing that could be done to stop it.

Lynne Wilkinson said any food product sourced from overseas did not have to be labeled as to where it was from.

“Global companies will do whatever it takes to get product here.”

Toxic troubles

Not only are the vegetables being sourced from China they are avoiding chemical residue testing by coming through the back door.

Toxic imported frozen vegetables are in the mix, it is claimed.

Jo Immig, of the National Toxics Network, said at one stage 18 bags of frozen vegetables from Australia and New Zealand were tested and three came up positive for ‘nasty” chemicals.

The four chemicals found in the vegetables were all pesticides that have been banned by the European Union and were under review in Australia.

The worst chemical found was procymide in a winter vegetable product made in New Zealand from “local and imported products.”

Asked if there was much ongoing public concern at the issue she said not really.

“The public has a lot to cry about I guess and they've been trained to want the cheapest without questioning,” she said.

“It is the NZ Free Trade Agreement with China which allows a percentage of Chinese frozen veges to be mixed with NZ produce and still call it made in NZ."

“Pesticide residues in imported produce is a significant issue [in Australia] as there's basically no gatekeeper.”

Lynne Wilkinson was not critical of the Kiwi role, however, only that lack of labeling country of origin in her country made it possible for this situation to arise.

“We are not saying no, we just have to be smarter ourselves."

“We are very aware of how New Zealand manages its food policies and have a lot to learn from it,” she said. “New Zealand has been very smart since the Roger Douglas export policies of the 1980s.

“Sound policies were put in place and staying committed to them has allowed for the success of such businesses as Fonterra.”

Off the mark”

HortNZ spokeswomen Leigh Catley said the comments were “off the mark”.

“New Zealand food manufacturers import some processed fruit and vegetables to make up for product which we either don’t have at certain times of the year, or we don’t grow at all."

“For example, some frozen stir fry mixes include products like lemon grass shoots and baby corn which we don’t grow. They are imported and mixed with locally-grown products."

“There are some vegetable processors who then export these products to Australia.  New Zealand has considerable vegetable and fruit processing capacity and we export these products all over the world, every day,” she said.

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10 Comments

Some plants get a bigger share of chemical, Potatoes appear to be worst. I only buy organic potatoes. 
 We should all be growing our own veges.  Trust has long gone.

yep...
regards

> Two thirds of the frozen vegetables in Australia were now being sourced from foreign investors.
 
I've have too many carrots in my garden at home, where can i find a foreign investor to buy them?

There was a time when you could only buy NZ fruit and veges and boy did we get ripped off.Until the introduction of Supermarkets we paid top price for everything and growers and suppliers were king kong.The importing of fruit  and veges whether labelled NZmade has lowered the price considerably.Bring them on .

Had to buy kiwifruit? Had to? Gosh I didn't realise that there were places where you could be forced to buy stuff

I'd pay more for my fruit and veg if I knew it was fresh. Actually it feels like I already pay more than the ticket price when apples turn to mushy floury awfullness within a day, or you realise just how long the avocado has been bouncing around the supply chain and bruised to bu99ery. I end up wearing the wastage. This is where grow your own definitely makes your veggie bill cheaper.

Ooh yes, great, imported garlic from China, tasteless, irradiated, so dodgy the roots have to be cut off so they can't regrow, ooh yes, yummy floury Australian tomatoes, lucky they look like tomatoes or you wouldn't know they were, yes, yes bring on the imported food............NOT

Yeah, bring on the sunlight into the workings of these big rort merchants, I want to see some of these corporations busted to their knees, cheats and bullies not needed, anywhere!!

Simple, if its not NZ 100% I dont buy it...
regards

Apparently the tomatos in vines in supermaekts are sprayed with something, so they all go red at the sametime. Fresh fruit and veges are marketed as being healthy, but you don't know what is being sprayed on them, and often not where they come from either. Country of origin labeling should be madatory. But supermarkets don;t want it, so it is likely to get traction unless there is a consumer backlash, driven by the media. The same with taxing high suger foods, supermarkets don't want this.