New country of origin food labels will begin to appear on convenience store and supermarket shelves later this year, after the Government approved a new food labelling system which will show consumers where products are made, grown or packaged.
While the new labelling rules for locally processed foods were welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the National Farmers Federation, the labelling changeover will cost food suppliers about $37 million more a year.
The new label includes the familiar green and gold kangaroo and triangle icon and a panel showing what proportion of the ingredients are from Australia.
This will include, for example, ‘Made in Australia from 100% Australian ingredients’, ‘Packed in Australia, Made in Canada’ and ‘Made in Australia from Australian carrots and French peas’.”
Companies will be encouraged to provide additional information on their labels to identify the origin of key ingredients.
The green and gold triangle design was the overwhelming preference of more than 17,800 respondents to the Government’s food labelling community survey.
Under the new scheme, if a product is imported into Australia and then re-packed, the label will identify where the item came from. The Government will continue to work with the States and Territories, whose agreement is required to roll out the new labels.
The mandatory rollout will commence in 2016, providing manufacturers with time to implement the new scheme, with a phased implementation period for small business.
Gary Dawson, CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, said that new country of origin labelling rules announced by the Prime Minister are a recognition of the importance of Australian jobs in the food production and processing sector.
“The retention of the term ‘Made in Australia’ and wider use of the well-known ‘Australian Made’ logo underlines the value of the more than 300,000 jobs in Australia’s food and grocery processing sector, with almost half of those jobs in rural and regional areas,” Mr Dawson said.
For further information on country of origin labelling visit www.industry.gov.au/cool