Australia’s new country of origin food labelling laws come into effect today – a win for consumers and local producers.
The Australian Made Campaign’s (AMCL) famous Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo will feature on most new labels, along with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients come from Australia.
The new labels are designed to give consumers a better understanding of how much of their food is sourced locally.
The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia.
AMCL believes the widespread use of the AMAG logo will also strengthen the logo’s connection to Australia and help boost sales of genuine Aussie goods in domestic and export markets.
Exported food is not required to carry the new labels, so businesses wanting to use the AMAG logo on their products can do so under a licence with AMCL.
Two-year phase-in period
Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out, with a two year phase-in period to allow companies to re-label, redesign and sell existing stock before the June 30, 2018 deadline, when the new system will become mandatory.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said the scheme will greatly improve clarity and consistency for Australian consumers.
“A tighter system for food labelling, coupled with a better understanding of that system by consumers, will give Aussie shoppers more confidence in what they are purchasing and provide Australian farmer and manufacturers with a much needed leg up,” Mr Harrison said.
“It removes that old phrase which nobody liked, ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients.’”
Shoppers will also continue to see the AMAG logo on all other types of Aussie products with AMCL to continue administering and promoting the logo as a voluntary country of origin certification trade mark.
Industry body welcomes the move
National vegetable industry body AUSVEG has welcomed the introduction of the new labelling laws.
AUSVEG spokesperson Jordan Brooke-Barnett said the reforms are a real win for Australian consumers and will assist shoppers to make informed decisions about the food they buy.
“After years of campaigning for meaningful country of origin labelling reform, AUSVEG is very pleased to see these new laws take effect. This new labelling system is an encouraging step forward in efforts to provide consumers with more transparent, informative food labelling.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
It has previously called for extensive reform to Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling system, including a requirement that labels list the specific country of origin of a food product’s key ingredients.