The Weekly Times is reporting a situation where Chinese mushrooms with potential health risks have been sold in Australia labelled ‘Packed in Melbourne’.
It seems Labor and the Libs are doing nothing about tougher country-of-origin labelling as major retailers are saying “it’s so terribly difficult to introduce.”
“Photographs depicting on-site worker’s accommodation with no toilet facilities, rubbish and produce being stored on the ground at a large-scale Chinese mushroom farm hit the internet last week.
The Weekly Times understands the farm exports to Australia.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said Australia’s labelling laws were “pathetic”.
“From these photos, these mushrooms are grown in atrocious conditions,” Senator Xenophon said.
“For them to be labelled as packed in Melbourne is outrageous.”
Senator Xenophon will also move for a Senate inquiry on fruit-juice companies buying up oranges “when prices are cheap”, boiling and storing it to later sell as “fresh”.
Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said both major parties shunned a bill he sponsored, along with the Greens leader Bob Brown and Senator Xenophon, which would introduce tougher country-of-origin labelling because “major retailers say it’s so terribly difficult”.
“You can put how much sugar and niacin (is in the product), how much of your daily intake it is, batch numbers and use by dates, but you can’t put down how much of a product is from Australia,” Senator Joyce said.
“It’s a joke – we’re being terribly unfair to our own farmers.”
AusBuy chief Lynne Wilkinson called for a moratorium on imported fresh foods until it could be proven “stuff coming in meets the protocols our farmers (meet)”.
AusVeg chief Richard Mulcahy said the incident highlighted a “significant problem in terms of enforcement” on labelling issues.
Australia also accepts produce labelled “Made in New Zealand” even if it is actually from elsewhere and only packaged across the Tasman.
Australian Made Australian Grown has moved to change its rules so its green and gold logo cannot be used on imported produce packed in Australia.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler failed to respond to a request for comment.” The Weekly Times 7 July 2010
How about a full public discussion on this topic?