by Keith Stewart
So you think your food is organic? Or free range? Or it was grown locally? Don't believe a word of it.
New Zealand laws do not expect retailers or producers to tell the truth about their products, and now that a change to consumer protection law is on the way the food and wine industries are fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo. They like the idea of lying about their products to help sell them faster or for more.
Consumer Magazine wants the law changed so that every trader, producer or retailer, must be able to prove what they claim aboput their products is true. So, ironically, do our car dealers, but not our grocers or our winemakers.
Foodstuffs, the biggest chain of grocery stores in the country, say that telling the truth would cost them too much.
New Zealand Winegrowers are so enamoured of their freedom from the truth that they argue any change to legislation will undermine their capacity for "creative marketing".
So the next time you see a bottle of Hawkes Bay Chardonnay on the shelf, know that there is no guarantee that is is made from chardonnay grapes grown in Hawkes Bay. It may have been made in New Zealand, it may have grapes in it, but more than that you cannot be sure of.
And every time you see a Pam's label in your local supermarket, imagine it carries the bye-line "Profit before Truth".
Baked beans? Possibly.