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Country of origin labelling a win for consumers

cool-fb.jpgWe all know that the little green and gold kangaroo on food products means Australian made. But how much of that product is really Australian? Is anything in it true blue at all? Thanks to an agreement by the states and territories, reforms to country of origin food labelling will make knowing what’s in your food and where it came from a whole lot easier.

Under the changes, it will be mandatory for food grown, produced or made in Australia to carry the familiar kangaroo symbol and a bar chart with text that shows the proportion of Australian ingredients. The rules will also be made clearer around when foods can carry a ‘Made in’ or ‘Packed in’ statement.

The reforms will also make clear that to claim the ‘Made in’ label, suppliers have to do more than just pack or perform other minor processing on imported food.

Under the old country of origin labelling laws, packaging doesn't have to state the percentage of Australian vs overseas product it contains. This means that items such as jam could use mostly overseas fruit but still claim its ‘Made in Australia’. Under the new labelling laws, consumers will see an additional gold and green bar chart underneath the familiar kangaroo logo indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients it contains.

The changes will also close the loop-hole which allows food from one country that is packed in another to just say where it was packed – it will need to make an explicit country of origin claim. This historic agreement is a key part of the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, crafted and delivered by our Barnaby Joyce in his agriculture portfolio.  

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