Following a two month industry consultation process on country of origin food labelling (COOL), the Federal Government said last week that it’s now seeking consumer feedback about what they want in clearer country of origin food labelling through an online survey that will help design the Australian Government’s new labelling system.
However, while manufacturers may face higher costs to comply with the mandatory new COOL rules for Australian food and beverage products, peak body the Australian Food and Grocery Council supports changes that will make the labelling system less complex.
“Complexity adds cost, and it’s important to test whether it hits the mark with consumers and whether consumers are going to respond to it,” AFGC chief executive Gary Dawson said.
Consumers can choose from six options focusing on the words, Made in Australia from more than 50% local ingredients, and Made in Australia from less than 50% local ingredients.
The Government interested in views on the extent to which the labels achieve two key aims:
- Clearly communicates that the product was made, grown or manufactured in Australia; and
- Clearly communicates what percentage (shown in increments) of the ingredients in the product are locally grown.
“Consumers have told us loud and clear that they want more useful food labelling, and now we want to hear from them about which options they prefer,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said the work to improve country of origin food labelling was to make sure Australians had clear and concise information about the food they buy.
“We want Australians to have confidence in knowing where their food is coming from,” he said.
The country of origin food labelling community survey is available at www.industry.gov.au/cool
In October, a House of Representatives Agriculture and Industry committee report urged the Federal Government to make major changes to stipulate the level of local and imported ingredients in food products.