• Kyodo

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Food imported from Tasmania, Australia, may soon carry pictures of cows on meat packages and photos of farmers on bags of carrots, a state minister suggested Thursday.

Primary Industries, Water and Environment Minister David Llewellyn said the move would be in response to Japanese consumer demand for food safety.

“Resistance to (genetically modified organisms), a growing interest in organic products, reduced chemical usage, and more detailed and reliable labeling are all messages coming from food retailers in Japan,” Llewellyn said in a statement.

“Most importantly, customers in this most demanding consumer market are after an assurance that food is safe.

“They are telling us they want truth in labeling and transparent trace-back of products, such as meat, right back to the paddock, the animal and even its parents.”

Some organic farmers in Japan already include information and photographs on packaging to illustrate a product’s background.

Japan is Tasmania’s largest export market and counts apples and beef among its most important products.

The island state’s “clean, green” image has been enhanced by a two-year moratorium on genetically modified organisms, approved by Parliament in July 2001, and a ban on feeding growth hormones to cows.

Llewellyn is currently leading a trade mission of Tasmanian exporters to Japan, China and Malaysia, with an emphasis on promoting Tasmania’s reputation as a producer of safe food.

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