With a national Australian Made, Australian Grown campaign launched in October to back locally grown and made goods, a House of Representatives Agriculture and Industry committee report has urged the Federal Government to make major changes to stipulate the level of local and imported ingredients in food products.
The Committee recommended that the Australian Government implement the following country of origin labelling safe harbours:
• ‘Grown in’ – 100% content from the country specified, such as Australia;
• ‘Product of’ – 90% content from the country specified, including Australia;
• ‘Made in [country] from [country] ingredients’ – 90% content from the country specified, including Australia;
• ‘Made in [country] from mostly local ingredients’ – more than 50% Australian content;
• ‘Made in [country] from mostly imported ingredients’ – less than 50% Australian content.
According to ABC Rural, industry groups are not in favour of the new proposals. Andrew White of industry group Ausveg believes that this new approach is very confusing and does not provide enough clarity for consumers.
Executive director of the Australian Dairy Products Federation, Peter Stahle, said that the dairy processing industry believes the current labelling regulations are robust and don’t’ need to be changed.
And KAP leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party Warren Truss asking him to support Australian agriculture and our economy by introducing policies similar to the UK, so that Government food tenders go to Australian producers and farmers.
“According to the Department of Finance figures published in 2012 over two thirds of all food and drinks bought for the Australian Government run institutions are from overseas,” Mr Katter said.
“The Government should award tenders for food contracts in our hospitals, schools, jails and defence forces to Australian farmers and producers.”
Mr Katter highlighted the British and American example where each country is looking after its own people, agricultural industry and economy first – instead of following Free Trade and WTO agreements.