What is the real price we pay for cheap imported food?
There has been plenty of discussion following the recent recall of imported frozen berries. It has caused a lot of alarm, and rightly so I say!How much trust do we put into the corporations that provide us with food? When imported produce is for sale on the shelf for up to half the price of Australian food, why is this? How can this be?
Australian farmers have to abide by extremely strict standards and compliances to be able to sell their produce to our local market, including the supermarket duopoly. This adds high expense to our farmers, however it is one that is necessary to maintain the high standard and quality of food we produce.
Also in Australia we demand everyone is fairly paid with decent working conditions, this is not the same as many of countries we import food from.
Each time you as a consumer buy an imported item from the shelf you are supporting whatever practices are involved to get this food to our shelf.
This could include
* Growing conditions - water that is used may be contaminated
* Pesticides / Herbicides that are used - May not have to comply by Australian standards & testing
* Working conditions - Cheap labour, poor hygiene, unfair working condition.
While many people want to be aware of what they eat, it's not always easy to buy Australian food. Often our labelling laws let us down as they may infer that produce is Australian, and quite often from New Zealand however it is only when you read the fine print you see that "contains imported ingredients," or something similar.
And who has the time to pore over all of the fine print of every label!! I'm a mother of a 2 year old, and I'm heavily pregnant with our second child. I don't wish to spend hours looking over labels when I do the shopping for our family, and nor should I.
I need to get out of the supermarket as quickly as possible most of the time.
I know this recent scare has made me more aware of what I am feeding my family, and I do spend a little longer reading labels than I used to. I hope that change in our labelling laws will be effective & easy for consumers to understand & I hope that it is not too far away!