New Country of Origin Labelling gives consumers the power
The green and gold kangaroo symbol is once again king and any products with the label are now guaranteed to be 100 per cent guaranteed Aussie made. The introduction of the clear and precise Country of Origin Labelling system now gives consumers real power in the supermarket and can direct where their dollars go.
The changes mean imported goods will no longer be able to masquerade as Australian simply because they were packed or processed here. Products that are predominantly made in Australia will now feature an accompanying bar chart, to show consumers how much of the product is made with Australian ingredients.
The changes were put in place by the Federal Government to address what consumers have been complaining about for years – meaningless and confusing food labelling.
With the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2016 passing in February this year, our Federal Parliamentarians have been travelling around the country taking part in demonstrations to explain the changes.
“More and more, Australians are becoming increasingly conscious of where their food comes from and want to buy Australian products to keep our farmers doing what they do best, whilst keeping jobs and services local in communities,” said Minister for Small Business and Member for the Riverina, Michael McCormack.
Mandatory labelling will begin in 2018 however many Australian companies are voluntarily embracing the system early, recognising the broad community support for change. Supermarket giant Woolworths has embraced the new labelling, as well as multiple Australian companies such as family-owned Bulla, Carmen’s, Farmdale, Beechworth Honey, KR Castlemaine, Mountain Fresh, Maggie Beer, Crazy Dragon, Riverina Fresh, and artisan producers such as Piallagio Estate and BCP Blueberries – who grow blueberries on the North Coast of NSW.
Berry producers are particularly pleased with the labelling changes. With imported berry products testing positive to Hepatitis A over the past two years, causing numerous recalls, the clear labelling system allows shoppers to buy high quality, pure Australian produce.
The new labelling is yet another example of the Nationals and Liberals delivering in areas where Labor stalled. Draft legislation was tabled in 2011 but put in the ‘too-hard’ basket by the Gillard Government, who cited implementation costs as the reason. With companies eagerly taking up the labelling prior to the implementation date, Labor’s inaction and cost excuse was flawed.
Once again the Nationals are standing up for the average Australian shopper trying to make better choices for themselves and their family.
More information is available at foodlabels.industry.gov.au
If you are involved in the food business, an online tool to assist with label creation, along with a range of other information and support is available at business.gov.au/foodlabels or by calling 13 28 46.