AUSVEG has described Bills introduced into both houses of Parliament yesterday by the Australian Greens proposing reforms to Country of Origin Labelling laws for food products, as a great step forward for Australian consumers and growers.
The Bills, introduced by Deputy Leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt and Leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne, aim to make it easier for consumers to identify which country food products have originated from.
“The introduction of these Bills highlights how important the issue of Country of Origin Labelling is to Australian consumers and also to Australian food producers. Finally, consumers will be given the information that will allow them to make informed decisions about where their food comes from,” said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer, Richard Mulcahy.
“Findings released recently by the Australian Made, Australian Grown campaign have shown that just under 9 out of 10 Australian consumers prefer their food and drink to be made in Australia. This shows that consumers want to be able to make these choices when they shop.” said Mr Mulcahy.
Research conducted for AUSVEG earlier this year found that 80% of consumers surveyed want to purchase Australian produce to support farmers and to have a viable industry.
“Australian consumers want to see improvements to Country of Origin Labelling laws and it’s encouraging to see the Greens leading the way with a Bill that will do just this,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“AUSVEG supports the proposed changes to the current laws outlined in these Bills,” said Mr Mulcahy.
The Bills introduced yesterday by the Greens propose that some recommendations made last year in the Blewett Review into Food Labelling be enacted.
“These proposed changes will make it a lot easier for Australian consumers to identify and recognise which country their food has come from, as it will tidy up the ambiguous claims of ‘local and imported ingredients’,” said Mr Mulcahy.
With the clear declarations on food packaging under the new Bill, a new claim – ‘Made of Australian ingredients’ – will be able to be used, indicating that 90 per cent or more of the contents have been grown in Australia.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.