Jul 15 2015

Monthly Update - July 2015

Consumer research on irradiation labelling

TomatoesNZ shows that consumers want clear labelling of irradiated produce.

Most New Zealanders want irradiated produce sold in shops and food outlets to be clearly labelled, a survey comissioned by Tomatoes New Zealand has found.

The study of 1000 people found that 85% of participants want irradiated fruit and vegetables, as well as food made with irradiated produce, to be clearly identified.

Tomatoes NZ chair Alasdair MacLeod, said: “With seasonal stocks of irradiated tomatoes soon arriving in New Zealand, it’s timely to remind retailers, restaurants and catering operations that by law consumers must be made aware of irradiated produce so that they can make an informed choice about whether to purchase it.”

Some foods, including all imported Australian tomatoes, are irradiated to preserve the food and kill bacteria and pests. This involves exposing it to ionising radiation and x-rays or gamma rays which pass through it like microwaves in a microwave oven. 

Mr MacLeod said: “The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) requires anyone selling irradiated produce to provide clear labelling for customers at point of sale. This research shows there is overwhelming support for this from New Zealand consumers.

“New Zealand tomatoes are never irradiated, but Tomatoes NZ supports measures taken to protect New Zealand’s vulnerable horticulture industry from pests like the Queensland fruit fly.

“Each piece of irradiated produce is not individually labelled but retailers must provide signage at point of sale. Consumers can look out for signage and, if in doubt, ask the retailer.”

 The survey carried out by Curia Market Research, found that 85% of respondents want stores to label irradiated fruit and vegetables and 78% want to know if food they order at a restaurant, café or takeaway includes irradiated produce.

Slightly more woman than men wanted to see irradiation labelling in stores and food outlets but there was no major differences across different age groups or locations. 

A thousand respondents participated in the poll, taken from a random selection of 15,000 nationwide phone numbers. The results were weighted to reflect the overall adult population in terms of gender, age and area.  Based on this sample of 1,000 respondents, the maximum sampling error (for a result of 50 per cent) is +/- 3.2 per cent, at the 95 per cent confidence level.


New TomatoesNZ board members

Congratulations to the following members, two of whom will be new to the TomatoesNZ board:

  • Simon Watson, Underglass Bombay Ltd., Auckland – new board member
  • Edward Lee, Lee Wong Hothouse Ltd., Auckland – new board member
  • Anthony Tringham, The Curious Croppers, Auckland -  currently on the board and retired by rotation,  was available for re-election and deemed nominated.

Because there were three vacancies (with Hayden Armstrong and Frank van Rijen standing down) and three nominations, there was no need for a vote.


Conference and AGM 2015

There is a fantastic line up of speakers this year, including Dutch covered crops hygiene expert Ines van Marrewijk, whose topics will cover:

  • Greenhouse hygiene good practise and control of diseases including Agrobacterium, viruses, Clavibacter, Phytophtpora, Fusarium and Erwinia.
  • Hygiene advice prior to crop replanting
  • Developing good hygiene protocols
  • Water quality and recirculation  - options for disinfection and sterilisation
  • Residues and MRL’s - risk analysis
  • Diagnosis of crop problems

A reminder that it is not too late to come to this year’s AGM and conference, and TomatoesNZ is offering its members the opportunity to claim back the conference registration fee plus up to $250 towards the cost of travel and accommodation. Claim forms can be found on the TNZ website or by contacting Lynda Banks on 04 494 9972.


Incorporation of Tomatoes NZ

At the 2015 AGM TomatoesNZ members will be asked to:

1.   Approve the rules of the new Tomatoes New Zealand Incorporated society. These will be made available before the AGM. The rules of the society are intended to largely continue present practices by TomatoesNZ with some updates for clarity and to meet obligations under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. 

EXCEPT the new rules allow for voting on the imposition of a special charge or levy to fund compliance with TNZ’s cost-sharing obligations under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. Voting on any such charge or levy would occur at an AGM of Tomatoes New Zealand Inc.

2.   Confirm the appointment of the first Chair and Directors of the new society.  It is intended that these will be the current Board members and Chair of TomatoesNZ

3.   Join the new society by completing a membership form. Fifteen (15) grower-members are required to start the society. Current TomatoesNZ members will not automatically become members of the incorporated society but will all be asked to join.

A date, likely to be 1 April 2016 (the beginning of the next financial year), will be set for the new incorporated society to take over all the present business activities of TomatoesNZ,    

The fresh tomato commodity levy, under the Commodity Levies (Vegetables and Fruit) Order 2013, will remain in force, unchanged, with growers and collection agents continuing to pay the levy to the TomatoesNZ product group of Horticulture NZ. Once the new society is underway (probably from 1 April 2016), Tomatoes New Zealand Incorporated will invoice Horticulture NZ for the fresh tomatoes portion of the levy until the current levy order expires in 2019 and a new levy order is sought for TomatoesNZ Inc.

The current TomatoesNZ product group is a subsidiary of Horticulture New Zealand. The new Incorporated Society will be a separate entity affiliated to Horticulture New Zealand.

If you have any questions or want to discuss the above, please get in touch with me on Helen.Barnes@hortnz.co.nz  Ph. 04 470 5666.