Australians will finally be able to tell where all of their food comes from, with mandatory country-of-origin labels coming into effect from July 1.
The “made in” country labels are a real win for farmers, producers and shoppers, showing how much of their food comes from Australia and whether it is grown, produced or packaged here. Featuring the Australian Made Campaign’s kangaroo logo, people will be able to choose whether to support farmers and local producers. It comes two years after the changes were announced by the Liberal-Nationals Federal Government.
The Nationals have campaigned for country-of-origin labelling for years and we’re pleased to see the fruit of those efforts, especially after recent health scares associated with imported fruit. For too long Australian farmers have had to compete with produce imported from countries with lower health and workforce standards.
To comply with the new standards, food products will need to display one of four labels:
- Grown in – will typically be used for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood;
- Produced in – can be used for processed foods and fresh foods;
- Made in – refers to food manufactured in Australia and will include a statement on the source of ingredients;
- Packed in – used for foods where ingredients have come from multiple countries.
The new requirements will apply to most food offered for retail sale in Australia, including food sold in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine. It does, however, exclude food sold in restaurants, cafes, take-away shops or schools.
To make sure businesses are doing the right thing, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will start cracking down on labels from July 1.
“Consumers should look out for the new labels if they want to find out where their food is grown, produced, made or packed, so they can make an informed decision about the food they buy,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said. “We’ve been providing guidance for businesses over the past two years about the new food labelling system, including how to apply and interpret the standard. We are now entering the compliance phase, where we are making sure businesses are presenting accurate information about country of origin to their customers.”