Australia’s vegetable industry has welcome the latest reforms to Australia’s country of origin labelling system.
National body AUSVEG saying 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.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said clearer country of origin information helps Australians make more informed decisions about the food and other products they buy.
“Australians want to know where their food was made or packed, and how much was sourced for Australian growers,” Mr Joyce said.
“This is something consumers have been wanting for a long time now.
“Thanks to our work in this area, we are already seeing food products such as Beechworth Honey, Birdseye Country Harvest Garden Mix and Angas Park dried apples displaying new country of origin labels in our supermarkets.
“With the new requirements passing through the Senate, businesses that have not already started the process can begin rolling out the new labels with confidence.
“Country of origin labelling was a key measure of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The Coalition Government has listened to consumer and producer demands for clearer labelling information, including where it is made, produced and grown.
“I look forward to more businesses providing greater transparency about where food was made or packed, and how much was sourced from Australian growers.”
For food businesses, an online tool to assist businesses in creating labels, along with a range of other information and support for business, is available at business.gov.au/foodlabels or by calling 13 28 46.