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Australian Made supports food label reform

Australian Made supports food label reform article image
The Australian Made, Australian Grown Campaign (AMAG) has thrown its support behind a reform that will ensure mandatory country of origin labelling for all food products. AMAG, owner of the registered certification trade marks 'Product of Australia', 'Australian Made' and 'Australian Grown', has submitted to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy a recommendation that the term 'Made in Australia' may only be used when the food product meets the full criteria set out in the Trade Practices Act. "There are growing concerns among consumers about where their fresh and processed foods come from. They are anxious about how safe the food they are buying is," said Ian Harrison, AMAG chief executive. He indicates the labelling laws are currently inconsistent, with the Food Standards Code requiring some foods such as pork and seafood to carry a country of origin label, while others such as beef and chicken are exempt. "One of the primary purposes of food labelling is to provide consumers with enough information to enable them to make informed choices. Therefore, the rules should be consistent, clear and as simple as possible," he said. Under the Trade Practices Act, a food product can legally be described as 'Australian made' if it has been substantially transformed in Australia and at least 50 percent of the production costs have been incurred in Australia. Currently, the ACCC’s country of origin guidelines allow a food product to carry a claim like 'Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients' if it doesn’t meet the full criteria. However, AMAG want to restrict qualified claims as well. "The term 'Made in Australia' should not be allowed to be used in a qualified claim such as 'Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients' as shoppers find this unclear. Food products which don’t meet the full criteria set out in the Trade Practices Act should be labelled with an alternative claim, for example 'packaged in' or 'blended in'," said Harrison. The AMAG campaign is also undergoing reform to exclude processing such as mixing, blending, seasoning, curing or homogenisation from the definition of 'substantial transformation' to ensure their labelled products contain mostly Australia ingredients.

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