Green light for food labelling reforms a win for consumers

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has welcomed today’s agreement by the states and territories to sweeping reforms to country of origin food labelling which will give Australian consumers clear information about the products they buy.

“This is as big win for consumers. It is important consumers have the information they need to make informed choices about the products they buy.

“Australians made it clear they wanted better country of origin labelling and the Coalition Government has delivered that for consumers,” Mr Pitt said.

“Consumers deserve peace of mind about labels claiming that a product is ‘Made in’ or a ‘Product of’ Australia – and the new system will ensure that’s the case.”

Mr Pitt said many foods found on Australian retail shelves will be required to include a kangaroo in a triangle logo to indicate if the food is made, produced or grown in Australia.

“The new system will also include a bar chart indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients,” Mr Pitt said.

“This will make it much easier for consumers to choose which product they want to buy, armed with the knowledge of where it has been grown and packaged, without imposing an excessive burden on businesses.”

Businesses will have two years to transition and update labels with their existing production processes and labelling cycles, and all stock in trade can see out its shelf life.

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.

The reforms will be introduced from 1 July with labels expected to appear in retail outlets later this year.

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.

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