If you produce or sell food products in Australia, you should know about current consultations taking place that could affect you and your business. The Australian Government is consulting manufacturers and producers about possible changes to Country of Origin Food Labels. We outline the proposed changes below.

What are the Proposed Changes to the Country of Origin Food Labels?

Under the Food Standards Code and Australian Consumer Law (ACL), there is already some country of origin labelling requirements. However, this new legislation aims to clarify where food and ingredients are from.

This would include using symbols and percentages to show how much of a particular food is from Australia, and what country of origin major ingredients in a product originate. The Australian government has already undertaken a number of public consultations favouring this approach.

Currently, the consultations are giving manufacturers and producers the opportunity to have their say about the proposed legislations. If you are interested in providing a submission, the deadline is the 29th of January 2016.

Topics you can provide input are in draft format and include:

  • Country of origin food labelling information standard;
  • Information Standard – Explanatory and discussion paper;
  • Proposed changes to the “Australian Made Australian Grown” certification trademark; and
  • Safe harbour defence amendments.

What Does County of Origin Labelling Require?

Current country of origin labelling sets out that you must, for packaged food, set out the country where the food was made or where the packaged food was packaged. For unpackaged foods, such as fruits and vegetables, the country of origin is usually set out on a label on the food. Where the country of origin is obvious i.e. made in the store, then you are typically not required to set out the country of origin.

The new amendments would require changes both in the administration of producing and manufacturing labels so that the country of origin is properly quantified, along with making sure that all labels are written in compliance with the new regulations.

In Short

If you have questions or concerns about an advertisement that you need reviewing, let us know. We assist food and wine businesses with their marketing, advertising and consumer law issues and are familiar with the industry’s unique legal challenges.

Questions about whether your country of origin food label is compliant? Get in touch with our advertising and consumer lawyers on 1300 544 755.

Edith Moss
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