New country of origin labelling
There is great news for Australian consumers on the short term horizon, where a long term campaign to have labelling on packing changed to be more user friendly will come into effect. There has been a lot of frustration in the community for several decades about how county of origin labelling for food is misleading and confusing. It has been a great win for Australia that the various States and Territories have passed the reforms that allows for a national implementation. Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the new system would “deliver honesty” to consumers. “Our labelling system will allow people to see two incredibly important components; firstly how much this involves Australian workers, because we believe in the right of the Australian people to know where their product is manufactured,” he said.
Currently, the Food Standards Code provides the guidelines for food products offered for retail sale in Australia. New country of origin labelling packaging requirements will commence on 1st July 2016. The new labels will have a statement that clearly identifies if the food is produced, grown or made in Australia. This will be accomplished through an easy to read and understand label that will display
- A kangaroo symbol to identify that Australia is the country of origin
- A statement regarding if the food was produced, grown or made in Australian
- The proportion of Australian ingredients
What foods will the new labels apply to?
The new labelling requirements will apply to unpackaged fresh and processed fruit, vegetables, nuts, spices, herbs, legumes, seeds, fish (including shellfish) and meat (pork, beef, sheep and chicken). Some food is exempt from country of origin labelling requirements, including food sold for immediate consumption e.g. food sold in cafes, restaurants and canteens or when a food is made and packaged on the premises it is sold, such as in a bakery.
For those businesses wondering when they will need to conform to the new food labelling requirements regarding country of origin, mandatory labelling will come into effect July 1 201. This allows businesses to have up to two years to sell out their current stock and change their labels to comply with the new stipulated labelling requirements. There is more detailed information available on the Department of Industry and ACCC website.