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Unmask Palm Oil and New Zealand's four major zoos say that although Friday’s decision by the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to delay voting on palm oil labelling is frustrating, they are encouraged that the Forum will still progress labelling.
"We welcome the support of the New Zealand Minister of Food Safety, Jo Goodhew, in pushing for progress on this issue. New Zealanders and Australians were clear in their support for labelling and the Minister listened. We urge the Minister to continue supporting this policy all the way through to the final vote," says Unmask Palm Oil director, Ben Dowdle.
"However, this delay does highlight the flaws of the Ministerial Forum process on this issue, which began back in 2009 and to date has been unnecessarily slow, secretive and undemocratic. It's a simple issue. Over 90% of New Zealanders want to know if they are buying palm oil or not. Mandatory labelling will give them this. We should all be concerned that we don’t have a process which is able to respond to public demands quickly and transparently."
"We'll be following this closely, and hope that the next stages of this policy will be a much more open and consultative process," says Dowdle.
Unmask Palm Oil, Auckland Zoo, Hamilton Zoo, Wellington Zoo and Orana Wildlife Park are enormously grateful and thankful to New Zealand consumers for their overwhelming support for mandatory labelling of palm oil.
"Kiwis really got behind our 'Ask for choice' campaign, and a parallel Australian zoos’ campaign collectively resulted in over 100,000 people signing online letters or printed postcards calling on their ministers to support mandatory labelling of palm oil," adds Dowdle.
"We want to assure New Zealanders we’ll continue to fight for palm oil labelling on food products so that they can be empowered to make informed decisions for their health and demand deforestation-free Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO)."