The Australian Government has welcomed today‟s agreement by the states and territories to sweeping reforms to country of origin food labelling which will give Australian consumers clearer and more meaningful information about the products they buy.
Today’s agreement comes after decades of frustration on the part of consumers that country of origin information for food is misleading and confusing.
Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, congratulated their state and territory colleagues for passing these reforms that are a big win for consumers.
“This is an issue that has vexed governments on both sides for many years and today is a major breakthrough Australians have long been waiting for,” Mr Pyne said.
“The new food labelling system will provide Australian consumers with the clarity they deserve, without imposing an overly onerous burden on businesses.”
Many foods found on Australian retail shelves will be required to include a kangaroo in a triangle logo to indicate the food is made, produced or grown in Australia.
The new system will also include a bar chart indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients.
“Australian consumers should be able to trust that claims such as „Made in‟ and „Product of‟ are applied consistently – and the new system will ensure that‟s the case,” Mr Joyce said.
“Australians want to know whether the product is from our nation or another, and if a mix of the two, what proportion is from our nation.
“This is yet another delivery from the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.”
“The Government has provided the ACCC with additional funding of $4.2 million over five years to undertake compliance and enforcement activities in relation to the new requirements”, Ms O‟Dwyer said.
“These changes will give consumers a clear understanding of where their food comes from, while ensuring Australian businesses receive information and support as they transition to the new rules.”
The reforms will be introduced from 1 July with labels expected to appear in retail outlets later this year.
With the introduction of the reforms, the enhanced country of origin labelling requirements will move from the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to Australian Consumer Law.
Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash, who also chairs of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, confirmed that work has commenced to revoke the country of origin labelling provisions under the Food Standards Code.
“Whether you’re in Geraldton, Gippsland, Gympie or Gundagai, shoppers want to know they’re buying Australian. This change gives farmers a fair go and gives shoppers the chance to support local jobs and growth.”