The latest reforms to Australia’s country of origin labelling system have been welcomed by AUSVEG, the national body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers. They say the changes will help consumers have confidence about the true source of their food.
The new reforms, which were first attempted last year but which were interrupted by the Federal election, alter the definition of “substantial transformation” as it applies to country of origin labelling and make it clear that minor processes do not count as substantial transformation.
Specifically, the new definition of substantial transformation requires that products be “fundamentally different in identity, nature or essential character from all of their ingredients”.
“These changes will help to protect Australians from importers who mask their products’ country of origin by making superficial changes to the ingredients, and claiming that this changes where the food was made,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Jordan Brooke-Barnett.
“By clarifying the requirements of the ‘made in’ label claim, these reforms will benefit Australian consumers, who deserve to know where their food comes from – not where some ingredients were frozen or chopped up.”
Throughout the national conversation over country of origin labelling reform, AUSVEG has been pushing for strong, effective changes to give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions about their food purchases – including country of origin information for specific ingredients in food products.
“Australians want to know where the key ingredients in their food come from, and these latest changes represent another step on the road to a true country of origin labelling system for food sold in Australia,” said Mr Brooke-Barnett.
“By making it crystal clear that the determination of country of origin relies in part on changes to a food product’s core ingredients, these reforms provide welcome recognition that consumers care about more than just where the final product was made.
“We welcome these latest reforms and look forward to continued improvements to Australia’s country of origin labelling system into the future.”
This means labels will give consumers better information about where their food comes from. Gone are confusing terms such as ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’!
New labels will include a kangaroo in a triangle logo to state if the food is manufactured, produced, packaged, or grown in Australia. It will also include a bar chart indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients.
Choice Australia, an advocate of consumer rights, says they would have liked the new labels to identify the origin of imported ingredients. While this isn’t a requirement, Choice is encouraging food companies to provide this information to consumers. Ω
Posted 9 February 2017